Synthesis of Ketones

Like aldehydes, ketones can be prepared in a number of ways. The following sections detail some of the more common preparation methods: the oxidation of secondary alcohols, the hydration of alkynes, the ozonolysis of alkenes, Friedel‐Crafts acylation, the use of lithium dialkylcuprates, and the use of a Grignard reagent.

Oxidation of secondary alcohols

The oxidation of secondary alcohols to ketones may be carried out using strong oxidizing agents, because further oxidation of a ketone occurs with great difficulty. Normal oxidizing agents include potassium dichromate (K 2Cr 2O 7) and chromic acid (H 2CrO 4). The conversion of 2‐propanol to 2‐propanone illustrates the oxidation of a secondary alcohol.

Hydration of alkynes

The addition of water to an alkyne leads to the formation of an unstable vinyl alcohol. These unstable materials undergo keto‐enol tautomerization to form ketones. The hydration of propyne forms 2‐propanone, as the following figure illustrates.

Ozonolysis of alkenes

When one or both alkene carbons contain two alkyl groups, ozonolysis generates one or two ketones. The ozonolysis of 1,2‐dimethyl propene produces both 2‐propanone (a ketone) and ethanal (an aldehyde).

Friedel-Crafts acylation

Friedel‐Crafts acylations are used to prepare aromatic ketones. The preparation of acetophenone from benzene and acetyl chloride is a typical Friedel‐Crafts acylation.

Lithium dialkylcuprates

The addition of a lithium dialkylcuprate (Gilman reagent) to an acyl chloride at low temperatures produces a ketone. This method produces a good yield of acetophenone.

Grignard reagents

Hydrolysis of the salt formed by reacting a Grignard reagent with a nitrile produces good ketone yields. For example, you can prepare acetone by reacting the Grignard reagent methyl magnesium bromide (CH 3MgBr) with methyl nitrile (CH 3C&tbond;N).