The Preparation of 1-Bromobutane

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The Preparation of 1- Bromobutane


Aim : To prepare 1-Bromobutane.

Background : The most common way of preparing alkyl halides, which are very useful intermediates in syntheses, is the replacement of the OH group of an alcohol by a halogen.

This replacement is a nucleophilic substitution reaction, and alcohols do not undergo nucleophilic substitution reactions because hydroxide ison is strongly basic and a poor leaving group. However, alcohols readily undergo nucleophilic substitutions if the hydroxyl group is first activated to produce a better leaving group, so reaction is carried out in the presence of a strong acid. The acid protonates the alcohol to create a suitable leaving group, water, for the SN2 reaction.



In this experiment 1-butanol will be converted to 1-bromobutane by an SN2 reaction.

CH3CH2CH2CH2OH (aq) + HBr (aq) -----> CH3CH2CH2CH2Br (aq) + H2O (l)


Reaction is nucleophilic substitution, and the products are impure, and so various stages of purification are required before a sample of reasonable purity can be obtained.

I'm planning to produce 20 g of 1-Bromobutane as a result of this experiment.

Amount of Butan-1-ol needed:

C4H9OH (aq) + HBr (aq) -----> C4H9Br (aq) + H2O (l)

74 : 70 : 137 : 18 ß Relative Molecular Mass.

Proportion is 74 to 137 at 100% yield, so 137 g of Bromobutane will be formed from 74 g of Butan-1-ol.

I will produce 20 g of 1-Bromobutane, my planned yield is 70%.


At 70% yield : (137/100) x 70 = 95.9 g (1 mole)

I want 20 g of C4H9Br so;

( 20 x 74 ) / 95.9 = 15.5 g , so :

Production of 1-Bromobutane will require 15.5 g of Butan-1-ol to obtain the full amount at 70% yield.

Chemicals Needed:

* Butan-1-ol, 7.72 g. (C4H9OH)

* Sodium Bromide (powdered). (NaBr)

* Concentrated Sulphuric Acid. (H2SO4)

* Concentrated Hydrochloric Acid. (HCl)

* Dilute Sodium Carbonate. (Na2CO3)

* Calcium Chloride. (CaCl2)

* Ethanol. (C2H5OH)

* Dilute Nitric Acid. (HNO3)

* Dilute Sodium Hydroxide. (NaOH)

* 0.1 M Silver Nitrate Solution. (Approx. 2.5 g in 250 cm3)

Apparatus Needed:

* Round flask, 250 cm3

* Tap funnel to fit still head

* Ice-water bath

* Reflux condenser

* Thermometer, 0-110°C

* Still head

* Conical flask, cm3

* Test tubes

* Beaker, 250 cm3

* Filter

* Teat pipette

* Holder


Mechanism for this synthesis is a nucleophilic substitution. Here are steps:

1. Since alcohols do not undergo a nucleophilic substitution without the presence of a strong acid, these are usually called as acid catalised reactions, because acid acts like a catalyst.

2. Sulphuric Acid attacks to the lone pairs of electrons on the oxygen.

3. Since Sulphuric Acid acted as a proton donor, Hydrogen joins onto the Oxygen. Water is released (condensation). As a result Carbon will have a positive charge, now turned into a Carbocation.

4. Sodium Bromide will dissolve in water, which will act as a solvent. As a result, aqueous solution of NaBr will be present, in which, NaBr will exist as Na+ and Br -. The Bromide ion, having a negative charge, will be attracted to Carbocation, bond will form between, and 1-Bromobutane is formed.

Risk Assessment

Many chemicals used in the experiment pose a hazard so I will need to be very careful during the experiment. Therefore, I will be carrying out a risk assessment using the hazcards to find out which chemicals I should be very careful with and make sure that all of the safety precautions are followed all the time.

1. Sulphuric Acid ( H2SO4 )

When contacted with skin or eyes it can cause serious burns and harm. Concentrated Sulphuric Acid that I will be using poses a real threat since solutions with a molarity...
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