Esters: Their Structure and Preparation

Many esters may be directly prepared by reacting an alcohol with an organic acid.1 To better understand what an ester is, it is important to understand why carbon is so special. Carbon Bonds to Itself Frequently, inorganic compounds are relatively small structures. For instance, barium metal, Ba, reacts readily with chlorine gas, Cl2, to give barium chloride, BaCl2. Ba + Cl2 → BaCl2 Notice barium atoms do not join to each other to form a chain, ring, or some other complex structure. However, carbon – the main element of organic compounds – can and often does bond to itself, forming larger molecules. For instance, diethyl ether is written, H3C-CH2-O-CH2-CH3 Two of the carbon atoms on the left are bonded to one another, as are the two on the right. In fact, chains and…
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