Effect of Carbon Chain on Equilidruim and Rate Constants of Esterification

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Chemistry Extended Essay
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Kinetics and equilibrium study of esterification
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Arun Kumar

Arun Kumar
002329-179

Abstract
Esters are important industrial compounds. Different esters have different demands in the current industry. The reaction rate of the reaction plays an important role in the production of the ester which could affect the production of the ester. Esterification is a reversible reaction and thus this affects the amount of ester produced as ester hydrolysis changes it back to its reactants. Very little data is available on how does the carbon chain length of carboxylic acid and alcohol affects the rate constant and equilibrium constant of esterification. Thus, the research topic of this investigation is: How does the carbon chain length of the alcohols and carboxylic acids affect the rate constants of the forward and backward reactions and equilibrium constant of the esterification reaction? The affect of the carbon chain length of carboxylic acid and alcohol was measured separately by first reacting carboxylic acids with ethanol and then alcohols with ethanoic acid. Each reaction was repeated four times and the amount of reactant and catalyst was varied. The initial rate was measured by plotting the graph of concentration of the carboxylic acid with respect to time. Thus, the order of reaction with respect to each reactant was measured. The reaction equation was then formed and the rate constant for each reaction was calculated. The rate constant of esterification decreased with the increase in the carbon chain length of both the carboxylic acid and alcohol. The amount of carboxylic acid present in the solution was calculated after the reactions had reached dynamic equilibrium. By using this value and the balanced equation of the reaction, the amount of other chemicals present in the solution was calculated. The equilibrium constant for each reaction was calculated using these values. The equilibrium constant decreased with the increase in the carbon chain length of the reactants.

Words: 300

Page 2 of 66

Arun Kumar
002329-179

Table of Contents
Research question ................................................................................................................................... 4 Motivation ............................................................................................................................................... 4 Background information ......................................................................................................................... 5 Esterification .............................................................................................................................. 6 Rate equation ............................................................................................................................ 6 Equilibrium ................................................................................................................................ 7 Maxwell Boltzmann distribution ............................................................................................... 8 Hypothesis ............................................................................................................................................ 10 Significance of the study...
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