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The Base Hydrolysis of Ethyl Acetate

Experiment #29 from Advanced Chemistry with Vernier

Education Level
High School


The reaction of ethyl acetate and hydroxide ions yields ethanol and acetate ions, as shown below.

{\text{C}}{{\text{H}}_{\text{3}}}{\text{COO}}{{\text{C}}_{\text{2}}}{{\text{H}}_{\text{5}}}{\text{(aq) + O}}{{\text{H}}^{\text{ - }}}{\text{(aq)}} \to {\text{C}}{{\text{H}}_{\text{3}}}{\text{C}}{{\text{H}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{OH(aq) + C}}{{\text{H}}_{\text{3}}}{\text{CO}}{{\text{O}}^{\text{ - }}}{\text{(aq)}}

The progress of this reaction can be observed by monitoring the conductivity of the reaction mixture. Although the reactants and products each contain an ion, the OH ion has a higher ionic mobility than the CH3COO ion. This results in a net decrease in the conductivity of the reaction mixture as the reaction proceeds.

Ethyl acetate is the major active ingredient in commercial acetone-free, nail-polish removers. The molar concentration of CH3COOC2H5 in this product is 0.10 M. You can successfully use one of these over-the-counter products in this experiment. The primary objective of this experiment is to conduct a series of reactions from which you will determine the rate law expression for the base hydrolysis of ethyl acetate.


In this experiment, you will

  • Conduct the base hydrolysis of ethyl acetate under various conditions.
  • Calculate the rate law constant, k, for the reaction.
  • Determine the rate law expression for the reaction.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #29 of Advanced Chemistry with Vernier. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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