A2 Chemistry (Salter's) - Carboxylic Acids & Derivatives

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Carboxylic Acids, their derivatives and reactions.

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  • Carboxylic Acids contain a carboxyl group - R-COOH.
  • They are named using the alkane, followed by "-oic acid", for example; CH3CH2COOH is ethanoic acid, as it has two carbons attached to the carboxyl group. For acids with two carboxyl groups, the suffix "-dioic acid" is added instead.
  • Important: when naming carboxylic acids, count from the carboxyl group.  
  • Test for carboxylic acids: add a carbonate, eg. Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), if the solution fizzes, a carboxylic acid is present (as CO2 is produced). 

The following reactions of carboxylic acids take place:

  • carboxylic acid + water --> oxonium ion (H+) + "-oate" ion (R-COO-)
  • carboxylic acid + NaOH --> salt (R-COO- NA+) + water 
  • alcohol + carboxylic acid --> ester


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