Oxidation: Building functional groups

Oxidation is a synthetic tool used to manufacture many products. There are a variety of oxidizing agents used in industrial processes, for example, nitric acid, chlorine and hydrogen peroxide.

Nitric acid is a strong oxidizing agent that is used to convert aromatic alkyl groups to carboxylic acids and alcohols into carbonyl compounds.

Chlorine’s industrial applications include the production of a variety of intermediates such as vinyl chloride, chlorobenzenes, epichlorohydrin, and alkyl halides such as methyl chloride and propyl chloride. Chlorine is also used in the production of bleaching products such as sodium hypochlorite.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a common oxidation agent that can oxidize carbon-carbon double bonds to epoxides, carboxylic acids into percarboxylic acids, and sulphides into sulfoxides.   The use of hydrogen peroxide for the oxidation of aliphatic thiols and thioethers to sulfonyl chlorides, sulfoxides and sulfones is an alternative to chlorine oxidation. Oxidation with hydrogen peroxide is highly sustainable on production scale since the only side product of the reaction is water.

Target molecules:

  • Sulfonyl chlorides
  • Sulfones

Advantage CABB:

All sites practice oxidation, with Jayhawk specializing in nitric acid oxidation.