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Carboxylic Acids - Reaction with Alcohols - Esters.

What is an Ester?

When a carboxylic acid reacts with an alcohol in the presence
of concentrated sulfuric acid, an ester is formed.
Concentrated sulfuric acid is a catalyst for this reaction.

Below are links to the reactions of carboxylic acids and alcohols.
Click on the name of the ester to see the reaction. If you
want to react ethanol with ethanoic acid click on ethyl ethanoate.


  Methanoic Acid Ethanoic Acid Propanoic Acid Butanoic Acid
Methanol methyl methanoate methyl ethanoate methyl propanoate methyl butanoate
Ethanol ethyl methanoate ethyl ethanoate ethyl propanoate ethyl butanoate
Propanol propyl methanoate propyl ethanoate propyl propanoate propyl butanoate
Butanol butyl methanoate butyl ethanoate butyl propanoate butyl butanoate

What are the Uses of Esters?

An ester is a sweet smelling substance.
Some esters are used as food flavourings
(for example in pear drop sweets).
Other esters are used as fragrances or perfumes.

Esters can be made into polymers called polyesters.
Polyesters can be used to make plastic bottles
or polyesters can be made into fibres to make clothing.
Recycled polyesters are used to make fleece clothing.

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