Preparing Carboxylic Acids

Making Carboxylic Acids by Oxidising Primary Alcohols 

  1. Alcohols can be oxidised to carboxylic acids using potassium dichromate(VI) solution in the presence of dilute sulphuric acid.
  2. Chemical Equation below represent the reaction. C 2 H 5 OH+2[O]C H 3 COOH+ H 2 O
  3. Figure below shows the apparatus setup to prepare ethanoic acid.
  4. The mixture is heated under reflux to prevent the ethanol to evaporate and escape to the surrounding before it has time to be oxidised to the carboxylic acid.
  5. Ethanol vapour will condense into liquid in the Liebig condenser and flow back into the flask to complete the reaction.
  6. The mixture is heated by using a water bath:
    1. to keep the temperature constant
    2. to ensure a uniform heating (heat is evenly supplied)


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