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What are the physical properties of esters and how do they differ from other organic compounds?

Esters have unique physical properties that distinguish them from other organic compounds.

Esters are organic compounds that contain a carbonyl group (C=O) and an ether group (C-O-C) in their molecular structure. They are characterised by their fruity or floral odours, which make them useful in the fragrance and flavour industry. Esters are also commonly used as solvents, plasticisers, and in the production of polymers.

One of the key physical properties of esters is their low boiling points. This is due to their weak intermolecular forces, which means that they evaporate easily and have a low viscosity. Esters are also generally insoluble in water, but soluble in organic solvents such as ethanol and acetone.

Another important physical property of esters is their reactivity. Esters can undergo hydrolysis in the presence of an acid or a base, which results in the formation of a carboxylic acid and an alcohol. This reaction is important in the metabolism of fats and oils in living organisms.

A-Level Chemistry Tutor Summary: Esters are organic compounds known for their fruity smells and are used in fragrances and as solvents. They feature low boiling points due to weak intermolecular forces, making them evaporate easily and have low viscosity. Insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents like ethanol, esters can break down into acids and alcohols through hydrolysis.

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