Experiment 25: Esterification reaction



  • To study esterification reaction between alcohol and carboxylic acid

Materials required:

  • Ethanoic acid (3 mL)
  • Ethanol (3 mL)
  • few drops of conc. H2SO4
  • conc. sulphuric acid
  • sodium hydrogen-carbonate (1 g)
  • a test tube
  • Burner


  • In a clean test tube take 3 mL ethanoic acid.
  • Add about 3 mL ethanol to it. Also add four to five drops of conc. H2SO4 to the reaction mixture
  • Warm the mixture gently over spirit lamp and shake the reaction mixture occasionally.
  • Pour the reaction mixture into a beaker containing aqueous solution of sodium hydrogencarbonate. This will remove the unreacted ethanoic acid from the reaction mixture. Notice the effervesence
  • Fan the liberated vapours of ester formed with your hand gently towards your nose and smell.
  • Feel the difference in the odours of ethanoic acid, ethanol and ester.

Observations and Findings:


  • Esterification of ethanoic acid with ethanol forms ethyl ethanoate which has a smell like PVC glue or nail polish remover


  • Carboxylic acid react with alcohols in presence of conc. H2SO4 to form esters with a loss of water molecule. For example when ethanoic acid reacts with ethanol, the ethyl ethaonate ester is formed.