Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

20.7: Amide Chemistry

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    ( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorA}[1]{\vec{#1}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorAt}[1]{\vec{\text{#1}}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorB}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorC}[1]{\textbf{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorD}[1]{\overrightarrow{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorDt}[1]{\overrightarrow{\text{#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectE}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{\mathbf {#1}}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    Synthesis of Amides

    There are five synthetic routes to produce amides: nitrile conversion and the acyl nucleophilic substitution reactions of acid halides, acid anhydrides, and carboxylic acids.

    Nitriles can be converted to amides. This reaction can be acid or base catalyzed


    Carboxylic acid can be converted to amides by using DCC as an activating agent


    Direct conversion of a carboxylic acid to an amide by reaction with an amine.


    Acid chlorides react with ammonia, 1o amines and 2o amines to form amides


    Acid Anhydrides react with ammonia, 1o amines and 2o amines to form amides


    Hydrolysis of Amides

    Hydrolysis under acidic conditions

    Taking acetamide (ethanamide) as a typical amide. If acetamide is heated with a dilute acid (such as dilute hydrochloric acid), acetic acid is formed together with ammonium ions. So, if you were using hydrochloric acid, the final solution would contain ammonium chloride and acetic acid.

    Hydrolysis under alkaline conditions

    Also, if acetamide is heated with sodium hydroxide solution, ammonia gas is given off and you are left with a solution containing sodium acetate.

    Peptide hydrolysis

    Peptide hydrolysis of proteins is amide hydrolysis. What biologists and biochemists call a peptide link (in proteins, for example) is what chemists call an amide link. Apply either hydrolysis reaction above to the dipeptide below to produce two amino acids. The amines in the products are shown in their protonated form because this hydrolysis reaction was performed under acidic conditions.


    Reduction of Amides into Amines

    Amides can be converted to 1°, 2° or 3° amines using LiAlH4 followed by an aqueous work-up. Alkyl groups attached to the amide nitrogen do not affect the reaction. The amine classification correlates with the amide as shown in the reaction summary below.


    The reductions of propanamide and N,N-dimethylpropanamide are shown as examples.

    Example: Amide Reductions



    The mechanism begins with nucleophilic hydride reacting with the carbonyl carbon to produce the tetrahedral intermediate. An imine forms in concert with the loss on the leaving group. A second hydride nucleophile reacts with the imine carbon to produce the final product.

    1) Nucleophilic reaction by the hydride


    2) Imine formation with loss of leaving group


    3) Nucleophilic reaction by the hydride



    11. How would you prepare the following compounds from N-Propypl benzamide?





    Propose a synthesis for the following.



    a) NaOH, H2O

    b) NaOH, H2O, then LiAlH4

    c) LiAlH4


    Contributors and Attributions

    20.7: Amide Chemistry is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?