Synthesis of Isopentyl Acetate Via Fischer Esterification

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  • Topic: Ester, Laboratory glassware, Oxygen
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  • Published : March 21, 2012
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Experiment 1: Synthesis of Isopentyl Acetate via Fischer Esterification

Introduction:
Isopentyl acetate, banana oil, is a naturally occurring compound that has a very distinct and recognizable odor. It is most commonly found in bananas but also can be found in other organisms.
The purpose of this lab was to synthesize the ester isopentyl acetate via an acid catalyzed esterification (Fischer Esterification) of acetic acid with isopentyl alcohol. Emil Fischer and Arthur Speier were the pioneers of this reaction referred to as Fischer Esterification. The reaction is characterized by the combining of an alcohol and an acid (with an acid catalyst) to yield and ester plus water. In order to accomplish the reaction, the reactants were refluxed for an hour to yield the product. The advantages of using this particular esterification process is that is fairly simple to set up and recreate, as long as the proper acidic conditions are present.

Experimental Section:
The first step in this experiment was to set up a ring stand which will hold the glassware while the reflux process is occurring. After the ring stand was set up, a heating mantle was placed underneath the round-bottom flask and two rubber hoses were attached to the condensing tube. Now that the instruments were set up, the reagents were ready to be weighed and then added. Approximately 5 ml of isopentyl alcohol was added to a 10 ml graduated cylinder. Next, a 25 ml round bottom flask was placed on a cork ring and then tared on the balance. The alcohol was then added to the flask and the mass was recorded in a notebook. 7 ml of acetic acid was then added to the 10 ml graduated cylinder and then transferred to the 25 ml round bottom flask which already contained the alcohol. Approximately 1 ml of concentrated H2SO4 was added to the 25 ml round bottom flask and the mixture was swirled. Finally, a boiling chip was added to the round bottom flask and the reflux procedure was ready to commence. Water was...
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