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Thread: Reaction of Diethylzinc to water

  1. #1 Reaction of Diethylzinc to water 
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    Can someone tell me what happen when diethylzinc is added to water? I have contrary sources telling me that zinc hydroxide is formed in one and also zinc oxide is formed in other


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  3. #2  
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    based on it's structural isomer it would form different things

    however I would say both your sources are right, just in different quantities, all possible compounds would be formed from the reaction just nearly all of them would be in trace quantities


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  4. #3  
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    AN EXPLOSION! plus ethyl alcohol and zinc oxide
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  5. #4  
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    How can it form ethanol?

    Isn't it:

    Et2Zn + 2 H2O --> 2EtH + Zn(OH)2

    ?

    As far as I know, the ethyl groups in Et2Zn have a carbanionic character, and therefore they are protonated rather than hydroxylated by water.
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  6. #5  
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    No, they form the corresponding alcohol, I have done this many times.

    Metal alkoxides hydrolyse with water according to the following equation:

    2 LnMOR + H2O → [LnM]2O + 2 ROH
    where R is an organic substituent and L is an unspecified ligand (often an alkoxide) A well-studied case is the irreversible hydrolysis of titanium ethoxide:

    1/n [Ti(OCH2CH3)4]n + 2 H2O → TiO2 + 4 HOCH2CH3
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney
    No, they form the corresponding alcohol, I have done this many times.

    Metal alkoxides hydrolyse with water according to the following equation:

    2 LnMOR + H2O → [LnM]2O + 2 ROH
    Alkoxides will form alcohols, I agree with you.

    But where's oxygen in diethyl zinc?

    CH3CH2-Zn-CH2CH3

    That's no alkoxide I'm afraid.
    It will form ethane and some zinc oxide / hydroxide.
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  8. #7  
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    my mistake, didn't look closely enough.you are correct.
    however the explosion part is correct.
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  9. #8  
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    True.
    In fact, I used to underestimate this chap Et2Zn, but one day I squeezed into water a very tiny remainder of solution I had left in the syringe, thinking it would be too little to make any fuss, and I got a pretty violent and noisy reaction.

    So when they say the reactivity of organometallic reagents decreases going K>Li>Mg>Zn etc... true but still most of them are quite rough fellows.
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