Friday, May 05, 2006

Esterification Reaction of Phenylacetic acids

Esterification reactions are condensation reactions between alcohols and carboxylic acids in the presence of an acid catalyst to form esters. According to a Wikipedia article, esterification is commonly used in substances such as lotions or perfumes, as they tend to give off various scents and flavors. Phenylacetic acids are found in plants, as a type of hormone known as auxin, which is generally used in the plants’ fruits. Phenylacetic acids tend to possess a honey-like odor in smaller concentrations and may be used in perfumes. Esterification reactions of carboxylic acids create esters that are excellent solvents and can then be used in soaps and lotions (“Intro to General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry,” Solomon).
In an experimental setting, an esterification reaction, as shown above, was tested using a catalyst, cerium (IV) ammonium nitrate (CAN), and simple primary and secondary alcohols in order to increase the efficiency of basic esterification reactions. A link to this experiment can be found here.
The synthesis of aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid, also uses an esterification reaction. For more information on the uses of aspirin, please see the class blog.


At 7/5/06 10:39, Blogger Jean-Claude Bradley said...

Full marks.


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