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-To prepare and characterise pure and dry sample of n-propyl acetate via the acid catalysed
reaction between n-propanol and acetic acid.

-To assemble instruments for boiling under reflux as well as for simple distillation

-To purify n-propyl acetate with the aid of solvent- solvent extraction and an appropriate drying

-To isolate n-propyl acetate with the aid of simple distillation

-To determine the yield of n-propyl acetate and to determine its purity with the aid of gas

-To Interpret the IR and NMR spectra of acetic acid, n-propanol and n-propyl acetate.


Esters are a group of organic compounds best known for their interesting odours and flavours.

Many natural odours and flavours were discovered to be esters and therefore, many
synthesized esters are used in perfumes and foods.

An ester has the functional group RCOOR, which is also known as an ester link. In the
laboratory, an ester is usually formed from the reaction of a carboxylic (organic) acid and an
alcohol, giving an ester and water as the products. This is an example of a condensation
reaction, in which two molecules link up by the elimination of a small molecule between them;
in this case, water.

We can write a general equation, known as the Fischer esterification for the formation of esters
as follows:

RCOOH (acid) + HOR (alcohol) + RCOOR (ester) + H2O (water)

Here, R and R represent any alkyl group, of general formula CnH2n+1. Examples would be methyl
(CH3-), ethyl (C2H5-), or propyl (C3H7-). R and R can also represent any aryl group

(One that contains a benzene ring) such as phenyl (C6H5-). The first part of the name of an

Ester is derived from the alkyl or aryl group of the alcohol used and the second part is from the
carboxylic acid, using the ending -oate. As an example, if ethyl alcohol (ethanol) combines with
propanoic acid, the resulting ester is named ethyl propanoate. N-propyl acetate is an ester that
is characterized as a strong aroma of pears. It is also used as a solvent.

The reaction between the alcohol and acid is rather slow at room temperature. Most esters are
prepared by one of 4 basic routes:

1) Direct esterification of a carboxylic acid with and alcohol in the presence of an acid
2) Alcoholysis of acid chlorides, anhydrides, or nitriles
3) Reaction of a carboxylic acid salt with an alkyl halide or sulfate
4) The transesterification reaction

In this experiment we will be synthesizing n-propyl acetate (fruity ester).


The final product was massed and stored in a tightly capped vial for subsequent GC analysis.
The detector for the GC Mass Spectrometer. As each substance emerges from the column it is
not only quantified but also analysed and the mass spectrum for the substance (which is stored
with the data output) can be subsequently compared with a standard spectra for identification.
Reactions of this sort are often quite slow, even with a catalyst. They are therefore generally
refluxed. This means that the vapor is trapped and allowed to condense and drip back into the
mixture during a heating period. Generally, this is done with a water-jacketed condenser. The
diagrams from the data analysis shows the IR of propyl acetate, propanol acetic acid and GC
readings for the propyl acetate, propanol acetic acid. HNMR of the propyl acetate, propanol
acetic acid were also recorded. Two benches of experiment had to be combined in order to
obtain the product. Using just one bench wouldve been too little product.


A table showing weight of vile

Empty vile 9.8089g

Final vile reading with product 10.2928g