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Alkanes from Reduction of Carboxylates: Kolbe's Electrolytic method

Sodium or potassium salt of a dicarboxylic acid on electrolysis gives an alkene. An alkene is generated when an aqueous solution of sodium or potassium salt of a dibasic acid (with adjacent carboyxlic groups) is electrolyzed.

Example: Electrolysis of Sodium Succinate

The electrolysis of sodium succinate gives ethene.

Oxidation at the anode

Reduction at Cathode

\[ 2H_2O + 2e^- \rightarrow 2OH^- + H_{2(g)}\]