Final Project: Spring 2011- Part I

For the final sequence of reactions this semester, students were assigned one of four possible three-step syntheses. The unique thing about these synthesis projects was that they were based on previous reactions that we had done either first or second semester. As I have previously propounded, I feel that it is a good thing for students to repeat experiments. This parallels an authentic research program where the same reactions are done several times to make the necessary modifications in a procedure and perfect the researcher’s skill. Another reason for this approach was to give students a chance to design an experiment based on their previous experience with a very similar experiment. Students were asked to write a synthesis plan with the goal of obtaining at least a gram of final product. The lead-off reactions for the four projects were as follows: 1) Diels-Alder reactions between maleic anhydride and anthracene. 2) The oxidation of cylcohexanol. 3) The azo dye coupling reaction with 4-aminobenzenesulfonic acid and 2-naphthol as starting materials. 4) The phosphoric acid catalyzed dehydration of cyclohexanol. The students were informed that they would write a final report of their synthesis based on the style of the Journal of Organic Chemistry.

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