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Sodium Borohydride Reduction of Benzil Raymond Oldham, Michael Lester, Audrey Paulzak CH-238 QZ Introduction: There are several methods to reduce aldehydes and ketones to alcohols. Both primary and secondary alcohols can be created by using complex metal hydrides such as lithium aluminum hydride and sodium borohydride, with ketones reducing to secondary alcohols and aldehydes reducing to primary alcohols. Both reagents provide an abundant source of H + ions that serve as catalysts for the reduction. Between the two reducing agents, lithium aluminum hydride (LiAlH 4 ) is extremely strong, expensive, and must be used in aprotic solvents. On the other hand, sodium borohydride (NaBH 4 ) is inexpensive and can be used in common solvents such as water and alcohols. Also, all four of the hydrogen atoms can reduce the ketone or aldehyde 1 . In this experiment, sodium borohydride will be used to reduce diketone benzil in a quick and efficient manner.... View Full Document

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