Conversion of Alcohol to Alkyl Halides

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Introduction In this experiment, Conversion of Alcohol to Alkyl Halides and alcohol is converted to an alkyl halide through SN1 or an SN2 mechanism. This is done by using 1-propanol and 2-pentantol with HBr, Hydrobromic acid. Only half of the groups will use 1-propanol, and 2-pentantol. All results are analyzed using NMR and IR. An SN1 reaction, requires two steps. The first step, using an alcohol as an reactant, is the pronation of the –OH group from the R group. This produces a cation intermediate. The cation intermediate is attacked by the –Br group, from HBr. This is the second step. An SN2 mechanism, is only one step, unimolecular , and spontaneous. In an alcohol, the –Br group will attack at the water, H2O, is leaving the reaction. The R group attacks to the Bromine leaving an excess water. Figure 1 Mechanism for 2-Pentantol SN1
Figure 2 2-Pentantol SN2 Mechanism Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, NMR, and Infrared, IR, Spectroscopy are used to determine the structure of unknown compounds. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance allows the student to see the nuclei in a molecule by the usage of light (1). The spectrum shows how carbon can form a number of different bonds hydrogens present in the molecule, double and single. IR spectroscopy gives an idea of the frequency of the molecules through the vibrations of the molecules. Infrared shows how molecules can perform like springs which connects with Hooke’s Law. Hooke’s Law is used to describe the vibrations of springs.

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