Essay about The Oxidation of Ethanol

Essay about The Oxidation of Ethanol

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The Oxidation of Ethanol

Ethanol is a primary alcohol and can be oxidized to either an
alderhyde or a carboxylic acid.



The purpose of this experiment is to oxidize ethanol and then to test
the product to determine whether it has been oxidised to ethanal or
oxidised to ethanoic acid.


We added 6cm³ of water to a pear-shaped flask, then added 2cm³ of
concentrated sulphuric acid, and set up the apparatus as shown below,
but with a stopper in place of the dropping funnel. We ensured that
all the glass joints were greased.


We then had to make up a solution containing 5g of sodium dichromate
in 5cm³ of water and add 4cm³ of ethanol. We had tom pour this mixture
into the dropping funnel. We heated the acid in the pear-shaped flask
until it was almost boiling and then turned off the bunsen burner. We
then had to carefully remove the stopper and put the dropping funnel
into the correct position, as shown in the diagram. We then added the
mixture containing the ethanol at such a rate to maintain the boiling
of the mixture in the pear-shaped flask. We collected the distillate
and recorded our observations.

After collecting the distillate we had to do two tests to see whether
we had oxidised ethanol into ethanal or ethanoic acid.

The first test was to put 5 drops of the distillate into a test tube
and 5 drops of universal indicator solution.

The second test was to put 5 drops of the distillate into a test tube
and add a small amount of sodium carbonate.

Both of these tests were tests for carboxylic acids. The test for ...

... middle of paper ...

...owed a slight fizzing which
also shows the distillate is an acid.


After doing the experiment my results show that a carboxylic acid has
been formed. I have come to this conclusion as after doing both tests
with this distillate my results show an acid has been formed. It was
an oxidation reaction of a primary alcohol and with this reaction
either an alderhyde or carboxylic acid can be formed. The carboxylic
acid will have been formed as there would have been an excess of
dichromate. The equation for this reaction is:


I have made my decision as a carboxylic acid as two tests have shown
this and test 1 with the universal indicator proved it was an acid by
changing from colourless to red and test 2 showed fizzing which is
also the sign of an acid being formed.

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