Esters are formed by the condensation reaction between an alcohol and a carboxylic acid. This is known as esterification. In a condensation reaction, two molecules join and produce a larger molecule whilst eliminating a small molecule. During esterification this small molecule is water. Esters have characteristic smells and are insoluble in water.
(means a reversible reaction)
They have the functional group:
The functional group (-COO) is known as the ester link. The main use of esters is for flavourings and perfumes, however they can also be used in the chemicals industry as solvents.
To name an ester: