Do E1 reactions require a strong base, like E2 reactions?

1 Answer
Nov 14, 2014

No. The base is not involved in the rate determining step, so the nature of the base is unimportant in an #"E"1# reaction.

But, the stronger the base, the more likely an #"E"2# reaction becomes.

#"E"2# reactions always involve a strong base. They need chemicals strong enough to pull off a weakly acidic hydrogen atom. These are usually charged bases like C₂H₅O⁻ and (CH₃)₃CO⁻.

Uncharged bases like H₂O, C₂H₅OH and (CH₃)₃COH are too weak to remove weakly acidic β H atoms.

If the strongest base in your reaction mixture is an uncharged molecule, you will get an #"E"1# reaction.