Why is it that tertiary alcohols cannot be oxidized? I was told that it's because there is no hydrogen to remove, but I don't understand why another OH could not be formed where there is a C-H bond.

  • $\begingroup$ What are you oxidizing to? You can just burn the alcohol. That will attempt to replace all of the C-H bonds with C-O bonds... $\endgroup$ – Zhe May 2 '17 at 22:47

The meaning of the answer you've gotten, "it is because there is no hydrogen to remove", is with respect to oxidizing the carbon of the tertiary alcohol itself. You could oxidize the rest of the molecule into any number of things, but there is no way for the tertiary carbon to be further oxidized than the alcohol.

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  • $\begingroup$ I read in one of the books that even tertiary alcohols can be oxidised under drastic conditions. Can you please explain if it can be done and with what kind of oxidants. $\endgroup$ – Shakti Feb 21 '18 at 13:05

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