Question Video: Predicting the Main Reaction Product of Ethanol and Butanoic Acid Chemistry

Consider the following reaction: Ethanol + butanoic acid ⟶ _ + H₂O. What ester is produced from this reaction? [A] ethyl butanoate [B] ethyl propanoate [C] propyl butanoate [D] methyl butanoate [E] butyl ethanoate

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Video Transcript

Consider the following reaction: Ethanol plus butanoic acid react to produce blank and H2O. What ester is produced from this reaction? (A) Ethyl butanoate, (B) ethyl propanoate, (C) propyl butanoate, (D) methyl butanoate, or (E) butyl ethanoate.

The names of esters have two parts which come from the esters’ parent molecules, which are the species used to make the ester. Alcohols and carboxylic acids are common parent molecules for esters. So to find the first part of the ester’s name, you take the first part of the parent alcohol’s name and add the suffix -yl. And to find the second part of the ester’s name, you take the first part of the parent carboxylic acid’s name and add the suffix -oate.

Now, we know how to name an ester. Let’s look at the reaction given in the question. We can see that ethanol — which has the ending -ol, so is an alcohol — and butanoic acid — which has the ending -oic acid, so is a carboxylic acid — react to produce an unknown compound and water.

The question tells us that the unknown compound is an ester. So we just need to work out its name from the name of its parent molecules. The first part of an ester’s name comes from the first part of its parent alcohol’s name, which we know to be ethanol. We take the first part of the name, which is F, and add the suffix -yl to give us the name ethyl. And to find the second part of the ester’s name, we take the first part of the parent carboxylic acid’s name which we know to be butanoic acid. The first part of this name is butan-, and then we need to add the suffix -oate, giving us the name butanoate.

Therefore, the name of the ester produced from the reaction of ethanol and butanoic acid is (A) ethyl butanoate.

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