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Organic reactions


  • Synthesis of some important esters.
  • Oxidation of a primary alcohol first to an aldehyde and then a carboxylic acid.
  • To saponify a typical vegetable oil.


You will be assessed on

  • detailed answers required in the lab report.
  • the correctness and thoroughness of your observations.


Esters are an important class of organic compounds commonly prepared from the esterification reaction of an organic acid with an alcohol in the presence of a strong mineral acid (usually H 2 SO 4 size 12{H rSub { size 8{2} } ital "SO" rSub { size 8{4} } } {} ). They are chiefly responsible for the pleasant aromas associated with various fruits, and as such are used in perfumes and flavorings. Some esters also have useful physiological effects. The best known example is the analgesic ("pain killing") and anti-pyretic ("fever reducing") drug acetylsalicylic acid, otherwise known by its trade name aspirin.

Liniments used for topical relief of sore muscles contain the ester methyl salicylate ("oil of wintergreen"), which is prepared from the reaction of methyl alcohol with the acid group of salicylic acid. Methyl salicylate acts as an analgesic and is absorbed through the skin; however, methyl salicylate is also a skin irritant (like many organic substances), which in this instance provides the beneficial side effect of the sensation of warming in the area of the skin where the liniment is applied.

Oxidation of a primary alcohol may yield either an aldehyde or a carboxylic acid, depending on the reaction conditions. For example, mild oxidation of ethanol produces acetaldehyde, which under more vigorous conditions may be further oxidised to acetic acid. The oxidation of ethanol to acetic acid is responsible for causing wine to turn sour, producing vinegar.

A number of oxidising agents may be used. Acidified sodium dichromate (VI) solution at room temperature will oxidise primary alcohols to aldehydes and secondary alcohols to ketones. At higher temperatures primary alcohols are oxides further to acids.


The dichromate solution turns from the orange color of the Cr 2 O 7 2 size 12{ ital "Cr" rSub { size 8{2} } O rSub { size 8{7} } rSup { size 8{2 - {}} } } {} (aq) to the blue color of the Cr 3 + size 12{ ital "Cr" rSup { size 8{3+{}} } } {} (aq). This color change is the basis for the "breathalyser test". The police can ask a motorist to exhale through a tube containing some orange crystals. If the crystals turn blue, it shows that the breath contains a considerable amount of ethanol vapor.

Soaps are produced by the reaction of metallic hydroxides with animal fats and vegetable oils. The major components of these fats and oils are triglycerides. Triglycerides are esters of the trihydroxy alcohol called glycerol and various long-chain fatty acids. Tristearin is a typical triglyceride. Upon reaction with sodium hydroxide, the ester bonds of tristearin are broken. The products of the reaction are the soap, sodium stearate, and glycerol. This type of reaction is called saponification (Greek: sapon, soap) and it is depicted below.



Soap is made commercially by heating beef tallow in large kettles with an excess of sodium hydroxide. When sodium chloride is added to this mixture (called the "saponified" mixture), the sodium salts of the fatty acids separate as a thick curd of crude soap. Glycerol is an important by-product of the reaction. It is recovered by evaporating the water layer. The crude soap is purified, and coloring agents and perfumes are added to meet market demands.

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Honors chemistry lab fall. OpenStax CNX. Nov 15, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10456/1.16
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