The Dissolution Rate Of Ibuprofen Pills

Student Experimenter

Researched by Baylee B.


The purpose of this experiment was to determine the rate of dissolution for different brands of Ibuprofen.

I became interested in this idea when I had a headache and took an Advil and I decided that it would be a good idea to see which brand would cure my headache the fastest.

The information gained from this experiment could benefit every person that has had a headache and didn’t get the fastest relief possible. I think that everyone has the need to get his or her headaches relieved as soon as possible.


My hypothesis was that the roughest and smallest pill would dissolve the quickest.

I based my hypothesis on the fact that the smallest and roughest pill would break up the quickest because it isn’t as well compacted as the others.


The constants in this study were:

  •  Amount of water (250ml) for each test
  •  Temperature of water (37∞ Celsius)
  •  Speed of magnetic stirrer (high setting)
  •  Type of water (tap)
  •  Amount of pills (one) tested at one time
  •  Testing procedures
  •  Type of stopwatch 
  •  Type of pill (Ibuprofen)

The manipulated variable was the brand of Ibuprofen.

The responding variable was the dissolution time. 

To measure the responding variable I used a stopwatch accurate to 0.01.

Ibuprofen for each of the 4 brands
magnetic stirrers
600ml tap water

300 ml glass beakers
Celsius thermometer
   pair of heat resistant gloves
1 thick lab apron
1 set

1. Measure 250ml of tap water
2. Pour 250ml of water into a microwave safe container
3. Heat water in microwave to 37∞ Celsius
4. Pour heated water into 300 ml glass beaker (Only up to the 250 mark though)
5. Put onto magnetic stirrer’s base
6. Drop in magnetic stirring capsule
7. Turn on magnetic stirrer to high (Let the stirrer get going fast before you drop in the pill)
8. Drop in first brand of Ibuprofen pill
9. Immediately Start stopwatch
10. When the pill dissolves (disappears) stop the stop watch then the stirrer
11. Record the dissolution time of the pill in minutes and seconds
12. Repeat steps 1-11 for the other pills of this same brand (5 more times)
13. Repeat steps 1-12 using the next brand of pills
14. Repeat steps 1-13 with the remaining brands
15. Average the dissolution rate for each brand.
16. Compare brands


The original purpose of this experiment was to determine the Dissolution rate of different brands of Ibuprofen.

The results of the experiment were that the brand Advil had the fastest dissolution rate.

See the table and graph


My hypothesis was that the smallest and smoothest pill would dissolve the quickest because it is the smallest.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be  accepted.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if I compared the rate of dissolution of lactase pills and Advil pills and see which one would dissolve the quickest.

If I were to conduct this project again I would try seeing if different temperatures of water had any effect on the dissolution rate.



Pain pills are important to everyone. In order to get the best cure for pain like a headache, one needs the fastest dissolving pill. The faster a pill dissolves the faster it will get in the system and help with whatever problem exists.


Dissolution is the act or process of breaking up into parts or disintegration. A pill can use the act of dissolution because it will break up into tiny particles not just stay all together.


A solvent is a liquid that is capable of dissolving another substance. Something that is a solvent is water. Water is a solvent because it can dissolve things like Ibuprofen. Many other liquids are solvents as well. Soluble means capable of being dissolved. Soluble things are also called solutes. An Ibuprofen pill is a solute because it is capable of being dissolved. Other types of pills are also solutes because they can be dissolved.

Rate is a measured quantity that occurs or is attained within the limits of a fixed quantity. In this project you would use rate to write down the time in which the pills dissolved. Rate is also used in many different experiments like if someone was going to measure how fast somebody else ran you could say the rate that they ran was two miles per hour.

Ibuprofen is a type of drug used to dull pain in an area that is hurt. For example if someone where to go running and their leg muscles were hurting them then it would be a great idea for that person to take Ibuprofen so that they will feel better. A few health issues have been linked to pain relievers. The most serious of the health issue is a heart attack. Health authorities are now reviewing dozens of studies, including popular brands like aspirin and Advil.
Why is Ibuprofen bad for hearts
Aspirin and other older painkillers block two enzymes, Cox-1 and Cox-2 that are involved in inflammation and pain. Now main drugs only block Cox-2. Which still isn’t great because if Cox-1 isn’t blocked off then the aspirin isn’t helping the heart. However because Cox-2 isn’t blocked off then it lowers the risk of gastrointestinal problems.

Pain relievers
Pain relievers are taken to relieve different types of pain or discomfort. Some people may think pain is a disease, but it’s not it is only a symptom. Nonprescription pain relievers are analgesics that one doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription.

Anesthetics are drugs that are taken to deaden feeling. The first synthetic local anesthetic was procaine, better remembered today by its trade name, "Novocain". Novocain had a lot of problems. For example it didn’t dry fast enough, it was as potent as cocaine and it wore off too quickly. About one third of the people that took Novocain ended up with at least a minor allergic reaction. Today procaine isn’t even available in dentist’s offices.


Even though there are many different problems with Ibuprofen. Now everyone can use the fastest acting pain reliever to get rid of their headaches, stomach aches, sore muscles or any other type of pain.


Deseret News. “All Drugs Have Risks; Here Are the Facts on Painkillers”, <>
 “Dissolving.” Young Scientist pp.19–21.
National Cancer Institute, “Nonprescription Pain Relievers,” <>
 “Ibuprofen” World Book Encyclopedia, 1998.
Spiller, Martin, D.M.D. “Local Anesthetics, ”<>

I would like to thank the following people for helping make my project possible:
  • My Mom and my sister for helping me organize my papers in a way that was easy to understand.
  •  My friend Brooke for encouraging me to keep persevering when I thought my project got too hard.
  •  Mr. Newkirk for helping me edit my project to make it better.
  • Mrs. Helms for always answering any of my questions if I ever had any.

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