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Arunav Chandra from Birla Vidya Mandir , asked a question
Subject: Science , asked on 20/2/11

how would  you distinguish experimentally between an alcohol & a carboxylic acid?

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Amish Garg , From Delhi Public School , added an answer
Answered on 28/2/13

hi ARUNAV,THERE ARE 3 WAYS

1) LITMUS TEST - TAKE 2 ML OF ALCOHOL AND CARBOXYLIC ACID IN A TEST TBE.PUT 1 DROP OF BLUE LITMUS IN EACH OF THE TEST TUBES.THE LIQIUD WHICH SHOWS NO EFFECT  IS ALCOHOL WHEREAS THE LIQUID WHICH TURNS IT INTO RED IS CARBOXYLIC ACID.

2) SODIUM BICARBONATE TEST - PUT A PICH OF SODIUM BICARBONATE IN EACH OF THE TEST TUBES.THE SAMPLE IN WHICH BRISK EFFERVESCENCE WITH THE EVOLUTION OF CARBON DIOXIDE WHICH TURNS LIME WATER MILKY IS ETHANOIC ACID WHILE WHICH DOESN 'T REACT IS ALCOHOL.

3)POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE TEST - PUT A DROP OF POTASSIUM PERMANGANTE IN EACH OF THE TEST TUBES.THE SAMPLE WHICH DISCHARGES THE PINK COLOUR OF POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE IS ALCOHOL WHILE WHICH DOESN 'T HAVE ANY EFFECT IS ETHNOIC ACID.

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Anandita , From B N Model School , Chd. , added an answer
Answered on 20/2/11

experimentally ,  when carboxylic acids react with sodium bicarbonate, they give a brisk effervescence of CO2 whereas alcohols do not give this test....

Raghuraman , From Jawahar Hr Secondary School , added an answer
Answered on 20/2/11

alcohol dont change the colour of litmus paper so it is neutral while carboxylic acid turns blue litmus red.so it is acidic...

Na2CO3 test....alcohol no action....carboxylic acid....brisk effervesence is evolved.

kashid.sangita00... , added an answer
Answered on 20/2/11

 Alcohol :-  carboxylic acid:-   

Functional group   (-OH)  C=O-OH

Blue litmus test  no change  blue to red

taste  burning taste  sour

smell distinct smell  pungent

reaction with base  no reaction corresponding salt & water is formed

reaction with acid changes to unsaturated compound    no reaction 

  e.g ethanol to ethene when reacted with H2SO4

reaction with carbonates no reaction reacts to form salt , water , CO2  

 

harrysfan.minnie , added an answer
Answered on 26/3/11

 Thanx it helped me alot

Nilesh Lavand , From Kvratlam , added an answer
Answered on 10/11/12

Alcohol :- carboxylic acid:-

Functional group (-OH) C=O-OH

Blue litmus test no change blue to red

taste burning taste sour

smell distinct smell pungent

reaction with base no reaction corresponding salt & water is formed

reaction with acid changes to unsaturated compound no reaction

e.g ethanol to ethene when reacted with H2SO4

reaction with carbonates no reaction reacts to form salt , water , CO2