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Determining Functional groups - carboxylic acid, ester etc

  1. Dec 9, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    What functional groups are present based on the compound's names?
    A. Methyl Hydroxybenzoate
    B. 2-Hydroxypropanoic acid

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    We've learned about the basic Hydrocarbon derivatives in class, but only dealing with problems
    like propanoic acid or methanoic acid, methyl propanoate or ethyl methanoate. These I fully understand them, but I can't quite understand how to disassemble this problem and find it's functional groups.
    Any help with be appreciated.

    - David
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2009 #2


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    Gold Member

    I reckon the best way would be to have a look a table of prefixes/suffixes for different functional groups and see if you can match them to the names above. Do you have an organic chemistry textbook? Most textbooks seem to have a table of the common functional groups. If not, then you could use this (though this table is probably more extensive than what you need):

  4. Dec 9, 2009 #3
    Hmm, I'll take a look at the list. Is there any other other way of breaking down the compound names? I know hydroxy is referring to -OH and I know the formula for propanoic acid is:

    edit: can't post this thing right.. the the carbonyl is between CH2 and OH
  5. Dec 10, 2009 #4


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Your structure is wrong. You have butanoic acid there. Propionic acid has only 3 carbons. You also dropped the 2-hydroxy group.
  6. Dec 10, 2009 #5
    I didn't clarify which one I was talking about oops. I was referring to 2-Hydroxypropanoic acid
    Said that the -OH (Hydroxy) combined with propanoic acid to form the above acid.
  7. Dec 11, 2009 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    It doesn't help, as chemisttree wrote your structure is that of butanoic acid and has nothing to do with 2-hydroxypropanoic acid.
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