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Chemistry LibreTexts

6: Alcohols, Phenols, Ethers, and Thiols

  • Page ID
    221807
    • 6.1: Alcohols - Nomenclature and Classification
      In the IUPAC system, alcohols are named by changing the ending of the parent alkane name to -ol. Alcohols are classified according to the number of carbon atoms attached to the carbon atom that is attached to the OH group.
    • 6.2: Physical Properties of Alcohols
      Alcohols have higher boiling points than do ethers and alkanes of similar molar masses because the OH group allows alcohol molecules to engage in hydrogen bonding. Alcohols of four or fewer carbon atoms are soluble in water because the alcohol molecules engage in hydrogen bonding with water molecules; comparable alkane molecules cannot engage in hydrogen bonding.
    • 6.3: Reactions of Alcohols
      Alcohols can be dehydrated to form either alkenes (higher temperature, excess acid) or ethers (lower temperature, excess alcohol). Primary alcohols are oxidized to form aldehydes. Secondary alcohols are oxidized to form ketones. Tertiary alcohols are not readily oxidized.
    • 6.4: Oxidation and Reduction in Organic Chemistry
      In organic chemistry, redox reactions look a little different. Electrons in an organic redox reaction often are transferred in the form of a hydride ion - a proton and two electrons. Because they occur in conjunction with the transfer of a proton, these are commonly referred to as hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions: a hydride plus a proton adds up to a hydrogen (H2) molecule. Be careful - do not confuse the terms hydrogenation and dehydrogenation with hydration and dehydration.
    • 6.5: Glycols and Glycerol
      Glycols are alcohols with two OH groups on adjacent carbon atoms. Glycerol is the most important trihydroxy alcohol.
    • 6.6: Phenols
      Phenols are compounds in which an OH group is attached directly to an aromatic ring. Many phenols are used as antiseptics.
    • 6.7: Ethers
      To give ethers common names, simply name the groups attached to the oxygen atom, followed by the generic name ether. If both groups are the same, the group name should be preceded by the prefix di-. Ether molecules have no OH group and thus no intermolecular hydrogen bonding. Ethers therefore have quite low boiling points for a given molar mass. Ether molecules have an oxygen atom and can engage in hydrogen bonding with water molecules. An ether molecule has about the same solubility in water as
    • 6.8: Thiols (Mercaptans)
      Thiols are the sulfur-analogs to alcohols.

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