Chemistry (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Abid Shaikh


There are copious amounts of naturally occurring and synthetic esters known that have a wide range of applications in industry to produce fine chemicals. Traditional methods of ester synthesis involve a reaction between a carboxylic acid and an alcohol in the presence of a Bronsted acid catalyst. The primary objective of this research project was to carry out the ester synthesis using the electrochemical coupling of aldehydes with alcohols instead of with a Bronsted acid catalyst because the electrochemical coupling would be an all-around better alternative of ester synthesis than the traditional method of using the catalyst. Electrochemistry has long been known as an environmentally friendly synthetic tool and has recently attracted significant attention in organic synthesis. A model reaction with 4-methoxybenzaldehyde with methanol was carried out to optimize the reaction parameters for a high product yield and a short reaction time. After having the optimized conditions in hand, a wide range of commercially available aldehydes and alcohols were tested to see how generally this method could be applied. This method of production allowed a variety of esters to be synthesized in a short time with a high product yield. All the products obtained were fully analyzed using NMR spectroscopy.