I read about Ceric Ammonium Nitrate Test for Alcohols and a red colour is produced if the solution has an alcohol functional group however as a side note it was mentioned that this test is only useful for compounds having less than 10 Carbon atoms. Why is it so?

  • $\begingroup$ I have a strong feeling you could have put those two questions together - while you could think that reasons would be different, that's virtually impossible - such difference in length of carbon chain simply doesn't affect the reactivity of OH group, so solubility is the thing here. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Aug 13, 2019 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron ok I've been told in the past to make separate questions so to avoid that I broke it into 2 $\endgroup$
    – user78585
    Aug 14, 2019 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, it may be problematic to decide, but these should be at least linked: chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/119157/… $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Aug 14, 2019 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


The question does not mention in what the ammonium cerium nitrate is dissolved in, but I guess it is water. If so, one expects that sufficiently large compounds that one wishes to test are not sufficiently soluble in water, such as decanol. Obviously, this is not entirely correct because disaccharides such as lactose do are soluble in water.

I expect a sufficient solubility to be important for the test such that it finishes in a timely manner and does not become inconclusive due to prolonged reactions with air, water etc.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is there any reference you can provide? $\endgroup$
    – user78585
    Aug 13, 2019 at 19:13

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