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Thread: please help!!!!!

  1. #1 please help!!!!! 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    what does an acid catalyst do in an esterification reaction? I know it's a substance that speeds up the rate of reaction. And, that is chemically unchanged at the end of the reaction. But was the only point of using it in my lab to speed up the reaction?
    is it also used to observe the smell of the esters formed, and how?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Bath, UK
    As a rule of thumb, when you use an acid catalyst in a reaction, it's purpose is to donate a proton or H+ ion to one of the reagents. In this reation as far as I can remember, the H+ speeds up the reaction by bonding to the carbonyl oxygen making the carbonyl carbon more electrophilic, therefore more reactive.

    It might help if you find a drawing of the mechanism for this reaction, it's a lot easier to understand then.

    Also, no the acid doesn't play a part in helping you smell the ester formed.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman lewisy's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    Lucky's rite,
    but also check this out, an Acid catalysis is mainly used for organic chemical reactions ok but there are mainly possible chemical compounds that can act as sources for the protons to be transfered in an acid catalysis system. Usually this is done to create a more likely leaving group, such as converting an OH group to a H2O+ group.

    also thou not a acid, if ur ever stuck with a question that says, chose a catalysit.. always use pt, its like a wildcard.. and a very small chance its not require. just a point that should be in the back of ya mind when dealing with catalysts
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