Sample Coursework Paper on Roles of Acid, Bases and Salts in Therapeutic Processes

Question One
  1. Define an acid, base, and salt as they apply to chemistry.

Acid – Acid is a substance commonly made of hydrogen ion as well as non-metal ions, and in most cases have a sour taste. However, acid does dissolve in water to form the hydrogen ion (H+), and its acidity level is below seven (7) on the pH scale.

Base – On the other hand, a base is a substance made of hydroxide ions (OH) and metal, and has a bitter taste. All bases have the pH above (7) on the pH scale.

Salt – Salt is a product formed when a reaction between acid and base takes place. Salts can be either soluble or insoluble.

  1. The examples of acids, bases, and salts used in therapeutic processes

Examples of acids used in therapeutic processes include Ascorbic acid, aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), and folic acid. Sodium bicarbonate [NaHCO3], magnesium hydroxide [Mg(OH)2], and Aluminum hydroxide [Al(OH)3]  are examples of bases, which can be used during the therapeutic process. Consequently, sodium fluoride, Zinc Sulfate [ZnSO4], and Sodium Naproxen [C14H13NaO3] are the examples of salts (Timberlake, 2014).

  1. The description of how and where the selected acid, base, and salt are used in therapeutic processes

Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) – is an example of an acid used to treat various types of diseases. The drug is administered orally in pill form to treat pain, fever, and other illness such as pericarditis and arthritis. When the drug is taken in lower dosage, it can help to reduce death occurrences due to heart attacks.

Sodium bicarbonate [NaHCO3] – In most cases, it is administered to the patient through injection to reduce stomach acids as well as to neutralize the acidity content of urine to make it less acidic. The base is commonly used to treat indigestion related problems, heartburns, and other stomach disorders experienced by patients. Consequently, it is also used to treat kidney disorders.

Sodium Fluoride – The drug is in the form of a tablet, lozenges or liquid. It is chewed in the mouth before swallowed, or the liquid form can be taken by mouth to prevent cavities in the teeth. There are dental cleanliness products including toothpaste that use sodium fluoride. Often, it is used to prevent dental decay, which is a result of bacteria that damages the tooth structure. Other forms can be used to treat drinking water.

Question Two

  1. Define a buffer and explain how a buffer works.

Buffer – It is a solution used to neutralize or resist change in pH when small amounts of acidic and base contents are added to it. For the solution to work, it has to contain things that will remove the acidic or base substances when added to the solution. The base content in the buffer is capable of neutralizing the hydrogen ions added to the solution while the hydroxide ions neutralized by the acid, and thus has no much effect on the pH. However, when choosing an acid for a buffer solution, it is advisable to choose an acid with pKa. The acid helps to form an equivalent acid and base conjugates that neutralize both the hydrogen and hydroxide ions (Chang, 2003).

  1. The analysis of the buffer system in buffered aspirin (carboxylic acid)

Aspirin is made of acetylsalicylic acid (carboxylic acid) that occurs in two solution forms; either fat-soluble or water-soluble form. According to Brown, et al., (2008), the fat-soluble form is highly diffused within the lining of the stomach into the cells where it encounters a higher pH. The pH content facilitates the ionization process thus preventing any form from spreading back into the stomach. The aspirin helps to suppress production of prostaglandins hormones used to stimulate blood clotting. This would lead to leakage of capillaries within the stomach lining, which may result in severe blood loss for unusual cases.


Brown, et al., (2008). Chemistry: The Central Science. (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Chang, R. (2003). General Chemistry: The Essential Concepts. (3rd ed.). New York: Mcgraw Hill.

Timberlake, K. C. (2014). Chemistry. An Introduction to General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry (12th ed.). Pearson Learning Solutions.