Dehydration of Cyclohexanol

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Dehydration of Cyclohexanol


In this experiment cyclohexene, an alkene, was prepared by the dehydration of cyclohexanol, an alcohol, using phosphoric acid, an acid catalyst. The reaction is as follows:


The dehydration of cyclohexanol was performed in a simple distillation apparatus. As cyclohexene formed, it was distilled out of the mixture.


Dehydration is an elimination reaction of an alcohol that takes place in the presence of an acid catalyst. In this experiment, 85% phosphoric acid was used as the acid catalyst. The alcohol dehydration required an acid catalyst and heat and the reaction was conducted in a simple distillation apparatus. Since, cyclohexene has a lower boiling point than cyclohexanol, cyclohexene can be distilled as it forms. So as the mixture was heated, cyclohexene distills out and is collected in a conical flask. Cyclohexanol, phosphoric acid, and water are left in the distilling flask because of their high boiling points. However, since a small amount of water may still appear after transferring the product from the conical flask, a drying agent is used to separate the cyclohexene and the remaining water is removed. Cyclohexene is insoluble in water and thus is not lost using a drying agent.


The procedure began with weighing 10.0460g of cyclohexanol which was put directly into a 100ml round bottom flask with a cork ring. Then, 3ml of 85% phosphoric acid and a few boiling chips were added to the flask. The flask was then clamped into the ring stand. A simple distillation apparatus was built and the conical flask with a side arm was placed into an ice bath. Dr. McCloskey checked the apparatus for accuracy before the water and heat were turned on. The variac, which controlled the heat applied, was turned to 6 and later increased to 8. The temperature was a little higher than 83 degrees Celsius. Cyclohexene was collected via pipet from the conical flask and...
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