Monthly Archives: January 2011

Know your chemistry Hof(f)man(n)s!

August Wilhelm von Hofmann (1818 –1892) was a German chemist who is the author of the Hofmann degradation reaction. German chemist Felix Hoffmann (1868–1946) synthesized two drugs: aspirin, one of the most widely beneficial drugs ever, and heroin, one of the most harmful of illegal substances. Albert Hofmann (1906 – 2008) became famous for being […]

The Acid Test for Dehydration

This year we varied the catalytic acid used to dehydrate 2-methylcyclohexanol. The standard procedure for us has used commercial concentrated phosphoric acid 85% (w/w) aqueous solution which has a molarity of about 14.8 M. 2.5 mL acid (0.037 moles) is combined with 11.5 g (0.10 moles) 2-methyl-1-cyclohexanol. This year we also tried sulfuric acid and […]

Full Steam Ahead!

Boiling happens when the vapor pressure of the liquid (interior) equals the surrounding (exterior) pressure. In an open air process the exterior pressure is about one atmosphere. There are two ways to induce boiling: 1) increase the vapor pressure of the liquid by heating, 2) decrease the exterior pressure. In steam distillation the two immiscible […]

That’s Alder Folks!

This year we reacted the anthracene diene with two different dienophiles in addition to the classic maleic anhydride. The Bruice Organic Chemistry textbook has the Diels-Alder reaction in Chapter 7 which is pretty early for most textbooks. The two new dienophiles were N-phenylmaleimide and Z-diethyl maleate. It turns out there are at least four maleate […]