Why does enantiopure sec-butyl alcohol retain its optical activity over aqueous base but forms a racemic mixture over dilute sulphuric acid ?
My reasoning is that, sec-butyl alcohol get dehydrated into a alkene because of sulphuric acid and then get hydrolysed to form alcohol again. Thus a equilibrium is formed between alkene and alcohol and between $R-$ and $S-$ sec butyl alcohol. Dehydration cannot occur with a base, so the alcohol remains optically active.
I feel that conversion of alcohol to alkene and then back to alcohol seems ridiculous and impossible. What do you think, is this reasoning correct or just plain non-sense ?
To be specific, I have some doubt whether alkene will convert back to alcohol or not in dil sulphuric acidic ?