Posted by: Mark Foreman | June 11, 2011

Protonated carboxylic acid

What happens is that the carboxylic acid is protonated on the carbonyl oxygen to form a cation, this cation is then attacked by the alcohol oxygen to form the new C-O bond in the ester. Below I have shown a picture of the protonated acetic acid in all its glory with the atomic charges in false colour.

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