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Question

What do you mean by polar protic and polar aprotic solvents? What are some examples of these?


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Solution

Polar protic solvent:

  • Polar Protic solvents are polar solvents that have at least 1 hydrogen that is connected directly to a particular electronegative atom such as O-H, N-H, etc., and are capable of forming hydrogen bonds with the solute.
  • An important property of protic solvents is that they give Hydrogen gas on reduction which is highly useful in reductive chemistry.
  • They are mostly acidic in nature.
  • Here SN1 reactions are faster and SN2 reactions are comparatively slower.
  • Examples of polar protic solvents are water, ethanol, ammonia, HF, acetic acid, etc.

Polar aprotic solvent:

  • Polar aprotic solvents are unable to form hydrogen bonds as they do not have any hydrogen atoms bonded with more electronegative atoms like O, N, and F.
  • They do not have acidic protons.
  • In aprotic solvents, SN2 reactions are faster whereas SN1 reactions are comparatively slow.
  • Examples of polar aprotic solvents are Acetone, Ethers as well as Chloroform.

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