Esters are produced when carboxylic acids are heated with alcohols in the presence of an acid catalyst. The catalyst is usually concentrated sulphuric acid.
1. Take a test tube and add ethanol (1 ml) and glacial acetic acid (1 ml) in it. Put a few drops of concentrated sulphuric acid in the test tube as well.
2. Now, heat the test tube in a water bath at about 60°C for about 15 minutes.
3. After heating, transfer the contents of the test tube into a beaker which is filled with about 50 ml water.
4. The product, that is obtained, smells sweet.
This is how esters are made.
Formation of esters can be shown by following equation:
CH3COOH + CH3CH2OH + Conc. H2SO4→ CH3COOCH2CH3 + H2O
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