What happens when alkenes are oxidized?

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Robb G. Share
Jan 21, 2015

Oxidation of a double bond usually means breaking it into carbonyl containing molecules, although converting it a triple bond is technically oxidation, too, it's not done in one step.

A double bond can be hit with ozone/zinc or ozone/dimethyl sulfide and convert to carbonyls. Take ethane for example, hit that with either of these and you get two formaldehydes. Hit a propene and you get formaldeyde and ethanal. Hit a 2,3-dimethylbut-2ene and you get two ketones.

HItting double bonds with KMnO4, hot or concentrated, results in similar products except you "over oxidize" the aldehydes formed my ozone. So anywhere ozone makes a formaldehyde you make CO2, ethanal by ozone would make ethanoic acid (acetic acid), and where ozone would make a ketone you still make a ketone with KMnO4.

There are other variations for ozone, such as ozone with H2O2, which is like hitting a molecule with KMnO4 hot or concentrated.


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