World Journal of Chemical Education
ISSN (Print): 2375-1665 ISSN (Online): 2375-1657 Website: Editor-in-chief: Prof. V. Jagannadham
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World Journal of Chemical Education. 2015, 3(5), 111-114
DOI: 10.12691/wjce-3-5-1
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Microwave-Assisted Esterifications: An Unknowns Experiment Designed for an Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Laboratory

Jessica S. Lampkowski1, William Bass1, Zachary Nimmo1 and Douglas D. Young1,

1Department of Chemistry, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, USA

Pub. Date: September 09, 2015

Cite this paper:
Jessica S. Lampkowski, William Bass, Zachary Nimmo and Douglas D. Young. Microwave-Assisted Esterifications: An Unknowns Experiment Designed for an Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Laboratory. World Journal of Chemical Education. 2015; 3(5):111-114. doi: 10.12691/wjce-3-5-1


The utilization of microwaves in synthetic chemistry provides a mechanism for the efficient heating of reactions, offering benefits such as rapid reaction rates and increased yields. Here, we present an undergraduate organic chemistry lab that utilizes microwave technology to perform esterification with alcohol unknowns. This experiment would normally require over an hour for reflux and apparatus assembly; however, with microwave technology we are able to develop a generic methodology to accomplish the esterification reaction in five minutes, demonstrating the efficiency of the microwave and allowing more time for product analysis and characterization. Moreover, the integration of an unknowns aspect to the laboratory implements the problem-solving laboratory approach and confers the ability to solidify principles of NMR spectroscopy as well as product purification techniques.

undergraduate laboratory experiment hands-on learning microwave irradiation esterification

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