The diagram shows an experimental set-up which can be used in several different experiments.

experimental set-up

Which processes could be demonstrate by using the above apparatus?

1. Oxidation of ethanol (liquid X)
2. Dehydration of ethanol (liquid X)
3. Cracking of paraffin (liquid X)

The answer is 2 and 3. I understand that for 2, ethene is produced which is a gas and for 3, cracking of paraffin will produce short-chained hydrocarbons which have low boiling points.

However, I expected 1 to be an answer as well because oxidation of ethanol will produce ethanal which has a boiling point of 21 °C. So shouldn't 1 be an answer as well?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ An oxidant is needed if you want to oxidize ethanol into ethanal. And there is no oxidant in this picture. $\endgroup$ – Maurice Aug 29 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Maurice wouldn't you need a catalyst for the dehydration of ethanol as well (e.g. concentrated sulfuric acid)? $\endgroup$ – ianc1339 Aug 29 at 11:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Silica is an acidic surface $\endgroup$ – Waylander Aug 29 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Waylander Oh, I see... and alumina also acts as a catalyst for the dehydration of alcohols. My bad for assuming that oxidants were added. Thank you $\endgroup$ – ianc1339 Aug 29 at 12:05

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