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Chemistry LibreTexts

Acid Catalyzed Hydrolysis of Esters (II)

Introduction

Esters can be cleaved back into a carboxylic acid and an alcohol by reaction with water and a catalytic amount of acid.

General Reaction

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Example 1:
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Mechanism

1) Protonation of the Carbonyl

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2) Nucleophilic attack by water

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3) Proton transfer

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4) Leaving group removal

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Contributors

Prof. Steven Farmer (Sonoma State University)