Solvent Effects during Acid-Catalyzed Esterification Reactions
AIChE Annual Meeting
Monday, November 14, 2016 - 10:00am to 12:30pm
The reaction was fractional order with respect to butanol concentration, and first-order with respect to butyric acid concentration, when using toluene as a solvent. In contrast, the reaction in tetrahydrofuran was first order with respect to both butanol and butyric acid. This discrepancy can be explained based on solvation of abundant surface intermediates leading to the appearance of a site blocking term in the rate expression for toluene. Accompanying the change in the reaction order, the reaction rate was increased by approximately an order of magnitude when using toluene as a solvent. These observations can be explained in the context of transition state theory applied to thermodynamically nonideal systems.