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I did a very simple acetylsalicylic acid synthesis from salicylic acid and acetic anhydride (with phosphoric acid as a catalyst). After rinsing, filtering and drying the product I dissolved it in ethanol, added some water and recrystallized. After the process, this gel was left in my waste beaker after disposing of the liquid. I thought it might be ethanol based but it wouldn't burn. I'm wondering if anyone knows what it might be? It's worth noting that this gel was only noticed on the flask the recrystallized aspirin was filterd over. Additionally, the flask wasn't steralized so the gel could have formed due to a reaction with some contaminant. Thanks for any informationenter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ With phosphoric acid as catalyst used, do you refer to the waxy solid polyphosphoric acid? $\endgroup$
    – Buttonwood
    Commented Feb 26 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ This seems to be your phosphoric acid, though if you have rinsed well, it should have left with the mother liquors. Try dissolving your gel with the aqueous NaOH. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 27 at 9:52

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