chem lab 5 - it is necessary that some of the products get...

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Discussion: The process of Fischer esterification utilizes an acid-catalyzed reaction, involving the condensation of an alcohol and a carboxylic acid, resulting in the formation of an ester and water. The preparation of isopentyl acetate in this experiment is a straightforward and tangible application of the Fischer esterification procedure. As this is an equilibrium reaction, an excess amount of acetic acid is used in its preparation, such that the equilibrium will be pushed towards the production of esters. At the same time, the reaction is being dehydrated constantly throughout the experiment towards the purpose of further driving the reaction. By removing the aqueous layer in the reaction, the equilibrium is further shifted towards the formation of products. As the reaction is constantly in a state of equilibrium, there can never be a complete conversion of reactants to products. This can explain why the yield obtained from the reaction was not 100%, as
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Unformatted text preview: it is necessary that some of the products get converted back into reactants during the reaction. Another possible reason for the low yield is because after having removed the aqueous layer with silica beads and by decanting, some of the product may have been discarded unintentionally. A third reason could be that due to the nature of the experimental apparatus, requiring that the solution be transferred between vials, a lot of the product remained on the inner rim of the vials. The procedure could be improved upon by using a simple distillation rather than decanting, as it allows for a more accurate separation of the fluids and dissolved impurities than does decanting. Also, the use of a sand bath does not permit rapid cooling if the temperature rises too quickly. In this event, a handful of cold sand should be kept nearby in order to quickly cool the reaction if it gets too hot....
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