C3.6 Organic chemistry

Alcohols and carboxylic acids are important organic chemicals that have many uses.
Alcohols react with carboxylic acids to produce esters.


Candidates should use their skills, knowledge and understanding to:

represent the structures of alcohols and carboxylic acids in the following forms:

GCSE Alcohols

GCSE carboxylic acids







■ evaluate the social and economic advantages and disadvantages of the uses of alcohols, carboxylic acids and esters.

Esters (GCSE) - Structure Esters have the functional group –COO– Production Ethyl ethanoate (CH3COOCH2CH3) is the ester produced from ethanol and ethanoic acid in the presence of concentrated sulfuric acid catalyst. Properties They are volatile compounds with distinctive smells and are used as flavourings and perfumes. Candidates will not be expected to give the names of esters other than ethyl ethanoate, but should be able to recognise a compound as an
Carboxylic acids (GCSE) - Ethanoic acid is a member of the carboxylic acids, which have the functional group –COOH. Candidates should be able to recognise carboxylic acids from their names or formulae, but do not need to know the names of individual carboxylic acids, other than methanoic acid, ethanoic acid and propanoic acid. Properties of carboxylic acids: ■ dissolve in water to produce acidic solutions ■ react with
Alcohols - Alcohols contain the functional group –OH Methanol, ethanol and propanol are the first three members of a homologous series of alcohols. These have the general formula CnH2n+1OH Properties and uses Methanol, ethanol and propanol: ■ dissolve in water to form a neutral solution ■ react with sodium to produce hydrogen ■ burn in air [equations needed] ■ are used as fuels and

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Assessment and practical opportunities

investigation of the reactions of ethanol

comparison of properties of ethanol with water

oxidation of ethanol using aqueous potassium dichromate

design and carry out an investigation of the oxidation of dilute solutions of ethanol (eg wine or beer) by exposing to the air for several days

comparison of the reactions of methanol, ethanol and propanol

investigation of the reactions of ethanoic acid

distinguishing between samples of ethanol, ethanoic acid and ethyl ethanoate using simple chemical tests

preparation of ethyl ethanoate using ethanol and ethanoic acid with sulfuric acid as a catalyst. Recognise the ester by smell after neutralising the acid with sodium hydrogencarbonate

add drops of esters to water to smell more effectively.