A carboxylate ester. R′ denotes any alkyl or aryl group.

In chemistry, an ester is a compound derived from an oxoacid (organic or inorganic) in which at least one hydroxyl group (−OH) is replaced by an alkoxy group (−O−R),[1] as in the substitution reaction of a carboxylic acid and an alcohol. Glycerides are fatty acid esters of glycerol; they are important in biology, being one of the main classes of lipids and comprising the bulk of animal fats and vegetable oils.

Esters typically have a pleasant smell; those of low molecular weight are commonly used as fragrances and are found in essential oils and pheromones. They perform as high-grade solvents for a broad array of plastics, plasticizers, resins, and lacquers,[2] and are one of the largest classes of synthetic lubricants on the commercial market.[3] Polyesters are important plastics, with monomers linked by ester moieties. Phosphoesters form the backbone of DNA molecules. Nitrate esters, such as nitroglycerin, are known for their explosive properties.

  1. ^ IUPAC, Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book") (1997). Online corrected version: (2006–) "esters". doi:10.1351/goldbook.E02219
  2. ^ Cameron Wright (1986). A worker's guide to solvent hazards. The Group. p. 48. ISBN 9780969054542.
  3. ^ E. Richard Booser (21 December 1993). CRC Handbook of Lubrication and Tribology, Volume III: Monitoring, Materials, Synthetic Lubricants, and Applications. CRC. p. 237. ISBN 978-1-4200-5045-5.

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