Alcohols, carboxylic acids, and esters

  • Created by: jaaaz_v
  • Created on: 13-05-15 16:54


  • Have the functional group "-OH"
  • The names of all the alcohols end in "ol"
  • They have the general formula: CnH2n+OH
  • The first three are: methanol, ethanol, and propanol
  • These alcohols can dissolve in water to for neutral solutions. They can also react with sodium to make hydrogen.
  • Methanol and Ethanol can dissolve substances that water cannot, which makes them useful as solvents.
  • Ethanol can be used in perfumes and aftershave lotions.
  • Methanoic spirit is ethanol with added chemicals, and is used to clean paintbrushes, and as a fuel.
  • Ethanol is the fuel in spirit burners,and can be mixed with petrol to be used as a fuel in cars.
  • Sugarcane can be grown and fermented to produce ethanol, which is useful because sugarcane is a renewable resource.
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Carboxylic Acids

  • Have the functional group "-COOH"
  • The names all end in "-anoic acid"
  • The first three are: Methanoic acid, ethanoic acid, and propanoic acid
  • Carboxylic acids can react with carbonates to make carbon dioxide.
  • They can dissolve in water to produce acidic solutions. When they dissolve they don't ionise fully, which means that they produce weak acidic solutions. They have a higher ph (are less acidic) than aqueous solutions of strong acids with the same concentration.
  • When ethanol is oxidised it produces ethanoic acid and water. It can be oxidised using microbial methods (yeast), or using oxidising agents.
  • Ethanoic acid can be made into vinegar by dissolving it in water
  • Ethanoic acid isn't commonly used as a solvent because it makes solutions acidic.
  • Carboxylic acids with longer chains of carbon atoms are used to make soaps and detergents. They're also used to help make esters. 
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  • Have the functional group "-COOH-"
  • All names end in "-oate". The alcohol forms the first part of the esters name, and the acid forms the second part.
  • Esters are formed from an alcohol and a carboxylic acid, and acid catalysts are used in the production of esters.
  • A lot of esters have pleasant smells, and are volatile, which makes them ideal for perfumesMany esters are flammable, so their volatility also makes them dangerous.
  • They don't mix well with water, but mix well with alcohols.
  • Esters can be used to make flavourings and aromas (esters can small or taste of rum, apple, and banana etc). Some esters can be used as ointments, and solvents for paint and glue and whatnot.
  • When using esters you need to consider that inhaling some esters irritates the membranes in the nose and mouth, and that ester fumes are v flammable, and some esters are toxic.
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