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Question

(a) What happens when ethanol is oxidised with alkaline potassium permanganate (or acidified potassium dichromate)? Write the equation of the reaction involved.
(b) Choose those compounds from the following which can turn blue litmus solution red:
HCHO, CH3COOH, CH3OH, C2H5OH, HCOOH, CH3CHO
Give reasons for your choice.

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Solution

(a) When ethanol is oxidised with alkaline potassium permanganate (alkaline KMnO4) or acidified potassium dichromate (acidified K2Cr2O7), ethanoic acid is formed. Alkaline potassium permanganate and acidified potassium dichromate are strong oxidising agents, as they provide oxygen for oxidising other substances in the reaction. This reaction is known as the oxidation reaction.

The chemical equation for the above reaction is as follows:
CH3CH2OH + 2[O] → CH3COOH + H2O

(b) CH3COOH (ethanoic acid) and HCOOH (formic acid) are the compounds which can turn blue litmus solution red. This happens because ethanoic acid and formic acid are the organic compounds which are acidic in nature.

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