Friday, 2 September 2016


Haloalkanes are a very useful intermediate compound, often used when converting one useful compound into another. Their own uses are limited, primarily due to the impact they have on the environment. Haloalkanes are generally immiscible (insoluble in water) as they are (technically) non-polar.

Haloalkanes are the products of:
  • reacting a halogen (such as bromine) with hydrocarbons.
  • reacting an alcohol with Lucas Reagent (chloroalkanes produced); remember that tertiary alcohols react very quickly, while primary alcohols may not react at all.
  • reacting an alcohol with PCl3, PCl5 or SOCl2
Haloalkanes can be converted into:
  • alkenes, using NaOH (or KOH) dissolved in alcohol (elimination reaction)
  • alcohols, using aqueous NaOH (or KOH) (substitution reaction)
  • amines, using excess NH3 (substitution reaction); if you use do not use enough NH3, it will make an amino salt instead, such as ethyl ammonium chloride

For more information about haloalkanes, click HERE (ChemGuide)

Friday, 26 August 2016



The structure of alcohols tells us a lot about their physical properties and chemical reactions. Last year, the first lesson was about the different isomers of C4H9OH, with the students starting by trying to make (and name) all of the ones that contain the alcohol functional group. Can you name these?


There are a few ways to make alcohols:
  • fermentation of sugars
  • synthesis gas
  • hydration of alkenes
We looked at the hydration of 1-butene using dilute sulfuric acid:


In this topic, we will do some experiments with primary, secondary and tertiary alcohols. Here are some videos explaining some of the expected observations and how to use them to identify/classify alcohols.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Hydrocarbons - Alkenes (1)

This lesson is the first one about Alkenes:

  • isomerism (including geometric isomers)
  • naming (including cis and trans, when applicable)

2013 Video

2014 Video

2015 Video