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The purpose of the experiment was
to prepare a product with the acid and alcohol given at each station produce a
specific product and determine which ester we produced. An ester (R-COOR) is
the product of a carboxylic acid (R’-COOH) and an alcohol (R’-OH). The R
represents alkyl groups in the carboxylic acid and in the alcohol, the R must
have at least one carbon atom. When naming an ester, you must first identify
where the carboxylic acid and the alcohol is. The alkyl comes from the parent
alcohol and the second part of the name comes from the carboxylic acid. For the
alcohol, the root name depends on the longest chain that contains the -OH
group. You take the hydrocarbon name and replace the “e” with an “ol.” For the
carboxylic acid, the root name depends on the longest chain that includes the
carbonyl group. You take the hydrocarbon with the carboxyl group on end C and
replace the “e” with “oic acid.” When the acid and the alcohol is combined and
heated, ester is formed from the condensation. This process is known as Fischer
esterification named after Emil Fischer who first described the process. For
this reaction to reach equilibrium, the reaction would have to be heated in
order to achieve the maximum rate of equilibrium so that the highest amount of
wanted ester would be produced. In order to shift the equilibrium towards the
ester, the excess reagent would have to be used to drive the reaction forward
to favor the wanted ester. In the process, the product would also contain
alcohol and carboxylic acid. The reaction can be catalyzed or accelerated when
there are H+ ions present. In this lab, sulfuric acid (H2SO4)
was used to speed up the reaction. Natural esters have a sweet scent that are
normally found in different fruits or in scents that are used to make candles
or air fresheners. 

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