Charles-Adolphe Wurtz, known also for the discovery of aldol reaction, is a french chemist who published the wurtz reaction in 1855.
What is wurtz reaction?
Wurtz reaction is a reaction in which to obtain a higher order alkane we react two alkyl halides with sodium in a solution of dry ether.
The reaction involving aryl halides is termed as the wurtz fittig reaction.
Wurtz Reaction Equation
2 R–X + 2 Na → R–R + 2 Na+ X–
- R–X + M → R• + M+ X–
- R• + M → R– M+
- R– M+ + R–X → R–R + M+ X–
- The wurtz reaction is limited to the synthesis of symmetric alkanes.
- This reaction cannot be used to make Methane.
- The reaction involves free radical species and hence has a side reaction which produces an alkene.
- When taking two dissimilar alkyl halides are the reactants, the product is a mixture of alkanes that is difficult to separate by fractional distillation. This is because the difference between their boiling points are typically very small.
- This method fails in case of tertiary halides.
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