Hydrolysis of Organic Compounds | Reactions of Organic Compounds with Water

Some types of organic compounds react with water and produce new products. When, water is contributed as as a reagent and is broken, we call it a hydrolysis reaction. Sometimes when organic compounds are hydrolyzed, precipitates are given or other physical changes can be seen. Here, we study reactions of organic compounds and water.



Do all organic compounds react with water?

  • Every organic compounds do not react with water. Organic compounds of alkanes, alkenes and alkynes do not hydrolysis.
  • Several compounds like carboxylic acid chlorides (acyl chlorides), acid anhydrides readily hydrolysis.
  • Also, there are some types types of organic compounds such as alkyl halide, their specific compounds react with water.
  • There are some organic compounds which can give acidic or basic characteristics to the water when they dissolve in water.


Products of hydrolysis of organic compounds

According to the organic compound, reaction rate of hydrolysis is different. Some compounds such as acid chlorides react quickly with water to give products.



Tertiary alkyl halides and water

Tertiary alkyl halides easily hydrolyzed with water and give tertiary alcohols as products. As an example, when, 2-Chloro-2-methylpropane is hydrolyzed, 2-Methyl-2-propanol is given as the product.

tertiary alkyl halide and water reaction

Grignard compounds and water reaction

Grignard reagents are unstable in the water readily hydrolysis in water and an alkane is given as the organic product. To prevent hydrolysis of Grignard reagent, it should be always kept out from water and should store in dry ether solvent.

grignard and water reaction



Acid chlorides and water reaction

Carboxylic acid chloride compounds readily hydrolysis and form a carboxylic acid and HCl as products. Carboxylic acid is a weak acid and HCl is a strong acid. Therefore final solution will be a strong acidic solution and pH value will be a lower one.


Ethanoyl chloride and water reaction

Ethanoic acid (acetic acid) and HCl are given after hydrolysis of ethanoyl chloride. Ethanoic acid is a soluble organic compound. Therefore, final solution will be acidic aqueous colorless solution.

ethanoyl chloride and water

Benzoyl chloride and water reaction

Benzoic acid and HCl are given after hydrolysis of benzoyl chloride. Benzoic chloride is not soluble in water and form a white precipitate in the water. Therefore, we can clearly see a physical change after the reaction.



Hydrolysis of acid anhydride compounds

Acid anhydride compounds hydrolysis give carboxylic acids as products.


Ethanoic anhydride and water

ethanoic anhydrides and water


Hydrolysis of benzene diazonium salt

Benzene diazonium chloride readily hydrolysis to phenol.

diazonium salts and water