Alkylation: A classic tool for building molecules

Alkylation is the addition of a saturated hydrocarbon (alkyl group) to an organic molecule. The compound supplying the alkyl group can be an alkyl halide, alkene, dialkyl sulfate, or any number of other organic compounds. CABB practices 2 synthesis routes; Alkylation Via Williamson Ether Synthesis and Thioalkylation.

Alkylation Via Williamson Ether Synthesis

Williamson Ether Synthesis (WES) is an SN2 reaction, in which there is simultaneous bond breakage in the molecule that supplies the alkyl group and bond formation between the alkyl group and the accepting molecule.  The production of anisole by the reaction of phenol and methyl chloride is a good example of this chemistry.  WES can take several hours to complete and typically runs at 50 – 100°C, although, higher temperatures can be used to allow the use of less acidic or basic compounds.


Thioalkylation involves the preparation of thio ethers from thiols via the addition of an alkyl group to a thiol.

Target molecule(s):

Benzene and cumene derivatives

Advantage CABB:

We offer alkylation capabilities at all production sites, with different areas of specialization – Jayhawk and Kokkola offer methylation, while Pratteln focuses on chloromethylation and nucleophilic aromatic substitution. Additionally, Jayhawk performs ethylation, allylation, and benzylation.  Customers benefit from our proven competencies in processing as well as odor removal via thermal oxidation.