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HYDROLYSIS OF METHYL ACETATE

MARY VHEE IRENE U. MACASERO


Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering and Architecture, Cebu Institute of Technology University, N. Bacalso Ave.
Cebu City, 6000 Philippines

The purpose of this lab is to determine the specific rate constant, k, of a reaction in this case the
hydrolysis of methyl acetate (CH3COOCH3). When an ester at equilibrium is added H2O, it will
gradually form back to its components (to which is a carboxylic acid and an alcohol). This
phenomenon follows the Le Chateliers Principle which states that, When a system at
equilibrium is subjected to change, the equilibrium will shift to relieve the system from the stress
experienced. In the esterification reaction the methyl acetate is in the product side along with
the water, thus when water is added to an ester-water system the equilibrium will shift and/or
favour towards the reactants thus forming its constituents the acetic acid and ethyl alcohol. The
rate constant in this experiment is computed through the formation of acetic acid at different
temperatures, to which it is subjected to titration. It is found out that the specific rate constant at
25 C is 5.99x10-4 s-1 and at 35 C it is 9.96x10-4 s-1.

1. Introduction
Chemical kinetics is the study of the speed with which a chemical reaction occurs and the factors
that affect this speed. This information is especially useful for determining how a reaction occurs
and behaves. Hence, the rate of reaction is an important part of this study.

Rate of reaction or reaction rate refers to the time rate of change of the concentrations of
reactants. This can be used to characterize the rate of a chemical reaction. The rate of change in
the concentration corresponds with the slope of the concentration-time plot.
In most of the reactions involving inorganic reactants, chemical equilibrium is attained in a very
short period of time as if it is instantaneous; but with reactions involving organic reactants the
time variable is very important.
The speed of a chemical reaction is important in determining the efficiency of the many
industrial chemical reactions. In organic reactions particularly, where there is a possibility of
several reactions going on simultaneously, the fastest reaction predominates.
A first-order reaction is one in which the rate of reaction is found by experiment to be directly
proportional to the concentration of the reacting substance. The reaction in this experiment, the
hydrolysis of methyl acetate, is an example of this kind of reaction. Thus, in this experiment, the
dissipation of the concentration of methyl acetate, the reacting substance, is the focus. This is so
because although two molecules are involved in this reaction, methyl acetate and water, the water
is in such large excess that only the methyl acetate appears to change in concentration. This large
excess of water also prevents the reverse reaction letting this experiment to measure only the
reaction rate of the forward reaction.
The constant k is called the reaction-rate constant or better known as the specific reaction rate. It
expresses the material that reacts per unit time. The speed of reaction varies with temperature;
that is why in this experiment two given temperatures are made as bases.

2. Materials and Methods


2.1 Apparatus
o Preparing the methyl acetate solution:
Erlenmeyer flasks

pipette
test tube
water bath
thermocouple

o Titration setup consisting of the following:


base burette
Erlenmeyer flasks

2.2 Materials
o methyl acetate
o distilled water
o 1 N hydrochloric acid
o 0.2 N sodium hydroxide
o ice
o hot water
2.3 Methods
2.3.1 Preparing the liquid systems for the distribution of acetic acid.
a. A test tube containing 12-mL methyl acetate and a flask containing 250 mL of
HCl are set into a thermostat at 25 C.
b. Then 100 mL of HCl is added with 5 mL methyl acetate through the use of a
pipette.
c. As the pipette reached the half mark, a stopwatch must start its count.
d. Allow the solution to settle and reach equilibrium.
e. Withdraw an aliquot then subject it to titration. Do several runs, ranging from

2.3.2

10 to 15 and/or 20 minutes.
f. Record data`
g. Do procedures 2.3.1.a to 2.3.1.f but on a different temperature, 35 C.
Titration
a. A 0.2 N of sodium hydroxide is prepared and the aliquots taken from time to
time at different variations are placed in an Erlenmeyer flask.
b. The solution is subjected to titration with sodium hydroxide as the titrant.
c. The molarity of each solution is computed using the acquired data.

2.4 Setup

Figure 2.4-1 Experiment set up

3. Results and Discussion

Looking at Table 3.1 and 3.2, as time progressed, the amount of titrant (NaOH) used increased;
hence, the amount of acid (acetic acid) in the solution increased. Consequently, the amount of
methyl acetate decreased until such time it was completely consumed.
Based on these observations, the specific reaction rate, k, is the natural logarithm of the change
of concentration of the reacting substance over a specified span of time. At 35 degrees Celsius,
the k was numerically larger than that at 25 degrees Celsius. This just means that the rate of
reaction is faster at higher temperatures. Hence, the chemical equilibrium is faster to attain.

nth run

t (min)

t (sec)

VNaOH used

K (s-1)

22.5

st

10

600

23.3

0.000538

nd

20

1200

23.9

0.000549

3rd

30

1800

24.5

0.000650

th

50

3000

25.0

0.000660

th

70

4200

25.4

1
2

4
5

Average:

0.0005995

Table 3.1 Data table at 25 Celsius

nth run

t (min)

t (sec)

VNaOH used

K (s-1)

22.7

1st

300

24.0

0.000881

nd

10

600

25.1

0.000932

rd

15

900

26.3

0.001442

4th

25

1500

27.1

0.001027

th

35

2100

28.3

35Average:

0.000996

Table 3.2 Data table at 35 Celsius

Reactions occur as a result of the collisions between the reactants. The greater the concentration
of these reactants, the more collisions happen and hence the faster the reactions. As the reactants
are used up, their amount dissipates, and collisions occur less frequently; resulting to a
decreasing reaction rate. At higher temperatures, these happen faster for the heat adds up to the
activation energy of the molecules resulting to faster reaction rate.

4. Conclusion
The rate of chemical reaction is measured and treated mathematically. The specific reaction rate
constants were calculated at two different temperatures. In this experiment the computed value
for k at 25 C is 5.995x10-4 s-1 and at 35 C it is 9.962x10 -4 s-1. It can be concluded that the
specific rate constants of the hydrolysis of methyl acetate increases as temperature increases.
The rate of hydrolysis of methyl acetate is useful in computing the activity of hydrogen ions in a
solution. The determination of the specific rate constant at two temperatures permits the

determination of the activation energy. The energy of activation, Ha, usually expressed in
calories per mole, is the amount of energy the molecules must have in order to be able to react.

References
Web references
http://www.chm.davidson.edu/vce/kinetics/ReactionRates.html
http://www.cpp.edu/~sjanz/physical_chemistry/chm_353_labs/hydrolysis_of_methyl_acetate.pdf

Accessed: March 11, 2016