Alcohols, Carboxylic Acids and Esters

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  • Homologous series with the Functional group -OH
  • General Formula: C(n)H(2n+1)OH
  • Methanol, Ethanol, Propanol, Butanol (Monkeys, Eat, Penut, Butter) - then shapes e.g Pentagon (5 sides) - Pentanol- 5 C atoms.
  • First 3 alcohols have similar properties: They are flammalbe- burn in air to produce carbon dioxide and water.  Dissolve in water- to form neutral solutions.  React with sodium to produce hydrogen and alkoxides.
  • Alcohols can dissolve most compounds that water can. They can also dissolve other substances which water can't dissolve.
  • Methylated Spirit, is ethanol with added chemicals- including methanol. It is used as a cleaning solvent and as a fuel, it is often dyed purple.
  • They can be used as solvents in industry or as fuels.
  •  Ethanol is the main alcohol in alcoholic drinks
  • Alcohols can be used in spirit burners and is clean burning, it can also be mixed with fuel for cars leading to less pollution, it is also renewable.
  •  Alcohols can be oxidised to form Carboxylic acids.
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Carboxylic Acids

  • Functional Group: -COOH
  • Start with the same Meth, Eth, Prop with an added -anoic
  •  Ethanoic acid is the main acid in vinegar.
  •  Dissolve in water to produce acidic solutions.
  • React with carbonates to produce carbon dioxide.
  • React with alcohols in the presence of an acid catalyst to form an Ester.
  • Also used to make soaps and detergents due to their long chains.
  • Carboxylic acids are weak acids as when they are dissolved in water they don't ionise completely. Therefore their solutions have a higher pH than stronger acids of the same concentration.
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  • Esters have the functional group -COO(C)
  • Their names end in -anoate
  • The alcohol they are made from forms the fist part of the name and the acid the second: Ethanol + Ethanoic acid -------> Ethyl Ethanoate + Water.
  • They don't mix well with water but do mix with alcohols and other organic solvents.
  • Esters have pleasant smells and are volatile so they are used as perfumes.
  • Some Esters have distinctive flavourings and aromas- some may smell or taste or certain fruits etc, these are used as flavourings.
  • They can also be used as solvents.
  • However they are very flammable and can be toxic.
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