what is hydrolysis of ester?

1 Answer

  • 5 months ago

    Hydrolysis of ester means the reaction between an ester and water. The products are an alcohol and a carboxylic acid.

    RCOOR' + H₂O ⇌ RCOOH + R'OH

    One of the shortcomings of the reaction is the slow rate. The reaction can be catalyzed by using concentrated sulfuric acid, and the process is known as acid hydrolysis of ester.

    Anther shortcoming of the reaction is that it is reversible. The ester cannot be completely hydrolyzed, and this leads to low yields of the products.

    The reaction can undergoes in an alkaline medium by using a strong alkali such as sodium hydroxide. This is known as alkaline hydrolysis ester. The reaction is irreversible and the products are an alcohol and the salt of a carboxylic acid.

    RCOOR' + NaOH ⇌ RCOONa + R'OH

    Firstly, the alcohol can be separated by fractional distillation. Then, acidify the remained solution to convert RCOONa to RCOOH, followed by fractional distillation to separate the carboxylic acid.

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