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Describe the differences between carboxylic acids and esters.

Carboxylic acids and esters differ in their functional groups and chemical properties.

Carboxylic acids are organic compounds that contain a carboxyl group (-COOH) attached to a hydrocarbon chain. They are acidic due to the presence of the carboxyl group, which can donate a proton to form a carboxylate ion. Carboxylic acids are soluble in water and have high boiling points due to the presence of hydrogen bonding between molecules. They can form intermolecular hydrogen bonds with water molecules, making them polar.

Esters, on the other hand, are organic compounds that contain an ester group (-COO-) attached to a hydrocarbon chain. They are formed by the reaction of a carboxylic acid with an alcohol in the presence of an acid catalyst. Esters are less acidic than carboxylic acids and do not form carboxylate ions. They are less soluble in water and have lower boiling points than carboxylic acids. Esters can form intermolecular hydrogen bonds with water molecules, but these are weaker than those formed by carboxylic acids.

Carboxylic acids and esters have different uses in industry and everyday life. Carboxylic acids are used in the production of plastics, detergents, and pharmaceuticals. They are also found in many foods, such as vinegar and citrus fruits. Esters are used as solvents, fragrances, and flavourings in the food and cosmetic industries. They are responsible for the characteristic smells and tastes of many fruits and flowers.

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