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Homework Help: Reagents used to convert Toluene to Benzoic acid?

  1. Mar 4, 2017 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Identify the reagents you would use to perform the following transformation:
    Toluene -> Benzoic acid

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I'm not exactly sure how I solve this type of thing. I was considering reacting this with an ordinary oxidizing agent, but apparently KMnO4 is used specifically. But why exactly is that? It seems that our textbook wants to take these things at face-value simply by telling us that this type of reagent is used, then proceeds to give problems containing reactants that are not covered in its explanation of the chapter. So I'm wondering if you could help me with learning how to figure these out.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2017 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Can't say I remember much from orgo, but I am under impression in large parts it is about using what has been proven to work (which, sadly, to a large extent translates into memorization). Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that orgo is just about memorization. It is just that we have an almost unlimited selection of oxidizing agents, and in theory every one of them can work, but at the same time we know that for a specific reaction some are much better than the others so we don't bother with selection, we just stick to what was tested and worked OK.

    Knowledge about possible oxidizing agents will become important once you have to deal with some new synthesis, one that was not tried before, or if you will on a purpose be looking for something better (cheaper, faster, more selective) than the reagent typically used as of today.
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