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Why boiling point of ethanoic acid is higher than methyl methanoate?

1 Answer


May 31, 2018


Would you not expect this outcome….?


Boiling point reflects the intermolecular force that operates in the substance. For acetic acid, #H_3C-C(=O)OH#, hydrogen-bonding operates, the which is a potent intermolecular force, such that its boiling point is #118# #””^@C#…this is very high for an organic molecule of such short length.

On the other hand, methyl formate, which has precisely the same formula as acetic acid, i.e. #HC(=O)OCH_3#, has SOME polarity, i.e. charge separation, but NO hydrogen bonding, and its boiling point is #32# #””^@C#. The vast difference in volatilities in species that have the same chemical formula points to the strength of hydrogen-bonding as an intermolecular force.

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