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What happens when ethyl chloride is treated with aqueous \[KOH\]?

Last updated date: 13th Jun 2024
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Hint: As we know that, haloalkanes undergo both nucleophilic substitution and elimination reactions with a strong base in aqueous medium. Ethyl chloride is also known as chloroethane, which is the chemical formula \[{C_2}{H_5}Cl\]. It is colourless, flammable gas with a faintly sweet odour. It is called chloroethane.

Complete Step by step answer: Ethyl chloride, reacting with a solid base like \[KOH\], can give both nucleophilic substitution and elimination reaction. Yet we get ethyl alcohol as the major product when it gives nucleophilic substitution reactions.
Reaction of ethyl chloride in aq. KOH: it gives ethyl alcohol and \[HCl\] as the products.
\[{C_2}{H_5}Cl + KOH \to {C_2}{H_5}OH + HCl\]
In the reaction, chloride is a good leaving group and hydroxide will attack at the alpha carbon from the back, making and breaking will happen at the same time.
In aqueous conditions, attack happens at the alpha carbon and leads to substitution and in alcoholic conditions with a strong base, elimination product is expected.
Ethyl chloride is produced by hydrochlorination of ethylene.

\[{C_2}{H_4} + HCl \to {C_2}{H_5}Cl\]

When ethylene is reacting with hydrochloric acid, \[HCl\], it gives chloroethane as a product. We can have it prepared by ethanol and hydrochloric acid but this way is no longer economical. Ethyl chloride is also generated as a byproduct of polyvinyl chloride production.
It can be used as a refrigerant, an aerosol spray, and propellant, an anesthetic and blowing agent. Ethyl chloride \[\left( {{C_2}{H_5}Cl} \right)\] can be used in treating cellulose to make ethyl cellulose, a thickening agent and binder in paints, cosmetic and similar products.

Note: Ethyl chloride is flammable and it should not be used in the presence of open flame. Ethyl chloride is a gas because the atomic size of chlorine atom is small and polarizability force will be decreased. Hence London dispersion force will also be weak so it is a gas.