Esterification, Esterification Methods, Mechanism, Properties of Esters (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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What is Esterification?

  • The chemical reaction that takes place during the formation of the ester is called esterification.
  • Esterification is the process of combining an organic acid (RCOOH) with an alcohol (ROH) to form an ester (RCOOR) and water; or a chemical reaction resulting in the formation of at least one ester product. Ester is obtained by an esterification reaction of an alcohol and a carboxylic acid.
  • The chemical reaction for esterification is given below.
Esterification – Reaction

Esterification – Reaction

What is Esterification Reaction?

When primary alcohol is treated with a carboxylic acid in the presence of sulfuric acid a compound is formed. This compound has a sweet smell. The compound obtained is called ester. The chemical reaction occurring in the formation of the ester is known as an esterification reaction.

Esterification Mechanism

This process involves five steps. We have discussed the steps below:

Step 1: Cation formation

Cation Formation

Step 2: Delocalized carbocation

Carboxyl oxygen gets protonated to give delocalized carbocation making the carbocation a better electrophile.

Delocalized Carbocation

Step 3: Transfer of proton

A proton is transferred to one of the hydroxyl groups to form a good leaving group.

Transfer of Proton

Step 4: Formation of the pi bond

The hydroxy group՚s alcohol oxygen atom donates a pair of electrons to a carbon atom which makes a bond by eliminating water. The concentration of water is less than methanol, therefore, it is not a feasible nucleophile to reverse the reaction.

Formation of the Pi Bond

Step 5: Ester formation

Ester Formation

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