Reactions of carboxylic acids

Carboxylic acids can undergo reduction reactions. Reduction is the opposite of oxidation.

For example, ethanoic acid (CH3COOH) can be formed by the oxidation of ethanol as shown below.

Ethanoic acid formation

As reduction is the opposite of oxidation, it can be defined as the removal of oxygen or the addition of hydrogen to a molecule.

Ethanoic acid reduction

Carboxylic acids can also react with bases to form a salt and water in neutralisation reactions. When long chain 'fatty' acids are used, the salt formed is a soap.

For example:

C_{17}H_{33}COOH  +  NaOH \rightarrow  C_{17}H_{33}COONa  +  H_{2}O

Sodium oxide + butanoic acid \rightarrow sodium butanoate + water

Potassium hydroxide + oleic acid \rightarrow potassium oleate + water

Copper carbonate + ethanoic acid \rightarrow copper ethanoate + water + carbon dioxide

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