I was wondering what the product will be in the following reaction: $$\ce{H3COOCH3 ->[\ce{H+}]} \:?$$

I was thinking about $\ce{CH3COOH}$ being a product but I do not know the mechanism.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a specific case of the general reaction of acid-catalysed ester hydrolysis, which should be discussed exhaustively in any good organic textbook. This reaction is closely related to base-catalysed ester hydrolysis, aka saponification. I think any detailed answer to this question is quite redundant, however hopefully giving you the name of the reaction will point you in the right direction. $\endgroup$ – Richard Terrett Aug 29 '12 at 4:14
  • $\begingroup$ My school text book unfortunately does not provide the reaction mechanism. :( $\endgroup$ – user570 Aug 29 '12 at 4:48
  • $\begingroup$ here's a good overview: link $\endgroup$ – Richard Terrett Aug 29 '12 at 4:53
  • $\begingroup$ Wrong answer/comment. Without water no hydrolysis will happen. $\endgroup$ – Georg Aug 30 '12 at 20:42

If you're sure that the initial formula is $\ce{H3COOCH3}$ (and that's a big if), then I disagree with Richard's answer in comments. $\ce{H3COOCH3}$ is dimethyl peroxide. While peroxides are not the most stable of molecules, and decompose rapidly (often by oxidizing other compounds), they do not spontaneously transform in acid conditions.

If the formula were $\ce{H3C–COOCH3}$ (note the added C), then yes, it's be acid-catalysed ester hydrolysis.

  • $\begingroup$ Whoa, totally missed that. Well spotted. I was mainly looking at the acetic acid product. $\endgroup$ – Richard Terrett Aug 29 '12 at 8:54

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