Alcohol dehydration is an acid catalyzed reaction, which can be
performed by strong, concentrated mineral acids such as sulfuric
acid (H2SO4) and phosphoric acid (H3PO4).
Alcohol dehydration proceeds by an elimination mechanism called E1.
OH H O-H
+ H carbocation CH3
CH3 CH3 H
secondary carbocation tertiary carbocation
oxonium ion O-PO3H2
1st step - Protonation changes the very poor
leaving group (-OH) into a good leaving group
2nd step - Water departs, leaving behind
a carbocation. This step is the rate determining minor product
3rd step - The base H2PO4- removes a proton Saytzev’s rule: The more
from the carbon adjacent to the positively
charged carbon, forming an alkene and
substituted alkene is the more
regenerating the acid catalyst H3PO4. stable product (major product).
bp 165° C
bp 110° C
Changes from the Manual procedures:
Use heating mantel instead of sand bath. Don't forget boiling chips.
Use 6 mL of 2-methylcyclohexanol and 5 mL of phosphoric acid.
No sulfuric acid is used.
Only the qualitative test with Br2 is performed. Test acetone as a blank,
and the starting material, and the product.
No refractive index will be measured.
GC is performed on the product mixture.
Distillation Set Up
bulb even with
the joint of the
drawing shows it
to be too low!)
sitting on lab jack
Do not allow temperature to rise above 100 ºC.
Do not distill to dryness.
Transfer distillate to a clean centrifuge tube, then allow layers to separate.
Organic layer containing all products
(Use pipet to discard into waste bottle)
Add 0.5-1.0 g CaCl2 to the centrifuge tube, shake, allow to stand for 10 min.
(Tube must be stoppered).
(NOTE: Even if you cannot see any water separated from the
distillate, you need to add CaCl2, shake it up, and let it sit for 10 min.)
While the product stands, dissolve the pot residue in water and transfer
to the same waste bottle as the aqueous layer.
Transfer the dried product to a preweighed sample vial. Do not transfer any
Weigh the product, calculate % yield and then perform the unsaturation test.
Bromine test: To distinguish between saturated and unsaturated
compounds, employ the observation of color changes.
Label three small test tubes, one for the blank, one for the starting
material (methylcyclohexanol), and one for products.
Place 2 drops starting material and the product in each test tube.
Add 20 drops of acetone into each test tube and shake.
Add 2 drops of Br2 test reagent to each tube and shake.
Observe any color change within five minutes.
GC analysis: Dissolve 2-3 drops of product in 1 mL of acetone,
then inject 1 µL into GC.
Identify peaks by comparing retention times with
those of the pure alkenes (These will be posted).
Report the ratio of the products (equal to the
ratio of peak areas).
Do not use the calculated areas on your
chromatogram. Measure the peak height (h)
and width (w) (at half the peak height).
Area = h X w
Cautions: Phosphoric acid is highly corrosive.
Methylcyclohexenes are highly fammable.
Br2 is toxic and an oxidizer.
Grading is 50% for the written report and 50% for results and observations.