The Acidic Environment‎ > ‎5. Esterification‎ > ‎

Describe the purpose of using acid in esterification for catalysis

  • Esterification: The process in which an alcohol and an acid are converted to an ester and water.
  • Esterification is an example of a condensation reaction.
  • Esterification reactions are equilibrium systems:

  • Most esterification reactions involve a carboxylic acid.
  • As alkanols are alcohols and alkanoic acids are acids, the reaction between an alkanol and an alkanoic acid is an example of esterification.
  • For example, when ethanol and ethanoic acid are heated with a concentrated sulfuric acid catalyst, ethyl ethanoate and water are formed:
  • For example, when propanol and ethanoic acid react, propyl ethanoate and water are formed: