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Salt or ester?

  1. Nov 14, 2009 #1
    I am uncertain if alcohol react with acid ( not carboxylic acid ) will produce salt or ester.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 14, 2009 #2
    Well I know that ethanol will form esters with inorganic acids, but I wouldn't make a generalization based on this. I would say that it depends on the alcohol and what type of acid you're dealing with.
  4. Nov 14, 2009 #3
    Hi pzona! thanks for your reply.
    How about C17H35CO2NA ?
  5. Nov 14, 2009 #4
    Well I could probably look it up and give you an answer, but I haven't taken a college level organic chem course yet (just an overview class in high school), so I don't feel like I would be able to fully explain it in detail. I'll leave this to someone else who is a little more experienced.
  6. Nov 14, 2009 #5
    Thanks anyway (= your help is greatly appreciated
  7. Nov 14, 2009 #6
    What is the actual structure here, this could be many different things, to be completely honest - do you have a name?
  8. Nov 14, 2009 #7


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    Staff: Mentor

    Besides, this looks like salt, not an acid itself.

  9. Nov 17, 2009 #8


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    This is sodium stearate. In the presence of an acid the salt produces the carboxylic acid known as stearic acid. If you were to treat the sodium salt of the stearic acid (sodium stearate - a soap) with both alcohol and an inorganic acid, like HCl or H3PO4, you would first produce stearic acid. This would use an equivalent of acid. If you have more than an equivalent of acid present (and it only need be present in catalytic amounts) you would begin to produce a stearate ester and a molecule of water. This reaction would continue until the alcohol or the stearic acid were used up or if the water began to build up in sufficient amounts to reverse the reaction back to the starting materials.
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