Organic Synthesis - Considerations in Organic Synthesis (A-Level Chemistry)

Considerations in Organic Synthesis

Designing Processes

As we have seen, the same organic compound can be synthesised using different pathways.

In industry, when choosing which pathway to use when synthesizing an organic compound, its safety and efficiency have to be considered carefully.

Using Non-Hazardous Materials

Chemists design chemical pathways which include as many non-hazardous starting materials as possible.

Examples include:

  • Using acid anhydrides instead of the more violent and faster reacting acyl chlorides
  • Using KCN followed by a dilute acid instead of HCN which is very toxic.

Avoiding Solvents

It is preferable to avoid using solvents if possible. Solvents are often flammable and need to be distilled to be removed from final products, which requires energy.

Fewer Reaction Steps

Processes with fewer reaction steps are preferred as the more steps there are, the more expensive the process.

More steps require more reagents and reaction vessels.

Each step in a reaction process can incur losses of product. It is therefore desirable to have as few steps as possible.

The greatest atom economy is preferred, as more of the reactant atoms are turned into products.

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