phenol is acidic

phenol is acidic


1 Answers

AskiitianExpert Shine
10 Points
13 years ago


 Compounds like alcohols and phenol which contain an -OH group attached to a hydrocarbon are very weak acids. Alcohols are so weakly acidic that, for normal lab purposes, their acidity can be virtually ignored.

However, phenol is sufficiently acidic for it to have recognisably acidic properties - even if it is still a very weak acid. A hydrogen ion can break away from the -OH group and transfer to a base.

For example, in solution in water:

Phenol + water --> phemoxide ion + H3O+

Phenol is a very weak acid and the position of equilibrium lies well to the left.Phenol can lose a hydrogen ion because the phenoxide ion formed is stabilised to some extent. The negative charge on the oxygen atom is delocalised around the ring. The more stable the ion is, the more likely it is to form.

One of the lone pairs on the oxygen atom overlaps with the delocalised electrons on the benzene ring.

This overlap leads to a delocalisation which extends from the ring out over the oxygen atom. As a result, the negative charge is no longer entirely localised on the oxygen, but is spread out around the whole ion.


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