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My understanding is that since an O-H bond is being formed, the protonation step must be exothermic because energy is released upon bond formation. However, if I were to draw an energy/reaction coordinate diagram for this mechanism, the more reactive protonated alcohol would be higher up in energy than the unprotonated alcohol so I'm not sure if the initial protonation step would be exothermic or endothermic.

This problem's been plaguing me for days now.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi @Beowulf8991, can you please draw the reaction coordinate diagram for this reaction so we can gain a better understanding of your problem? Thanks and happy learning. $\endgroup$ – cngzz1 Jan 16 at 1:57

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