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

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Esterification Methods

Esterification can happen in three ways. They are discussed below:

  • From acid anhydride and alcohol
  • From acid chloride and alcohol
  • From carboxylic acid and alcohol

Acid Anhydride and Alcohol

  • The reaction between alcohol and acid anhydride is comparatively slower when compared to acid chloride. To get a number of esters it is required to warm the mixture. For instance, consider 2,6-diiodophenol.
  • 2,6-diiodophenol reacts with an acid anhydride to form ester.
Acid Anhydride and Alcohol

Acid Chloride and Alcohol

  • Esterification process can also be performed with alcohol and acid chloride at room temperature. Ester is obtained with steamy acidic fumes of hydrogen chloride. For instance, benzoyl chloride.
  • Reaction of alcohol and benzoyl chloride to form ester.
Acid Chloride and Alcohol

Carboxylic Acid and Alcohol

Production of esters from carboxylic acid and alcohol. Heat them in the presence of acid catalyst such as sulfuric acid is used as a catalyst. For example, reaction of ethanoic acid and propanol to form propyl-ethanoate and water.

Carboxylic Acid and Alcohol

Properties of Esters

  • The name of an ester is derived from its carboxylic acid that takes part in the esterification reaction.
  • They have a pleasant smell.
  • They have a wide application in the perfume and food industries.
  • Esters are organic compounds found in oils and fats.

Uses of Esters

Some common uses of esters are mentioned below.

  • Esters that have fragrance are used in perfumes, food flavorings, and cosmetics.
  • Used as an organic solvent.
  • Nitroglycerin is known and famous for its explosive properties.
  • In the manufacturing of surfactants like detergents and soaps.
  • Natural occurring esters are present in pheromones
  • The backbone of DNA molecules is formed by phospo esters.
  • Polyesters are used in the production of plastics


Give Two Examples of Ester


Which Compound Has a Higher Boiling Point: Why?


due to the presence of intermolecular hydrogen bonding.

Give Two Main Uses of the Esterification Reaction


The two major uses of esterification reaction are:

  • Manufacturing of medicines.
  • Manufacturing of paints and dyes.

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