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Making an Ester

Esters are made by reacting a carboxylic acid with an alcohol in the presence of concentrated sulphuric acid which acts as a catalyst. Ethanoic Acid H O H-C-C OH H + Ethanol H H HO-C-C-H H H

Ethyl ethanoate CH3COOC2H5

Water H2O

Most esters have a pleasant odour. Depending on the alcohol and acid used, many different fragrances can be made.
ALCOHOL 1-pentanol ACID butanoic acid ESTER FRAGRANCE apricot

1-pentanol Ethanol ethanol

salicylic acid
ethanoic acid butanoic acid ethanoic acid

banana apple fruity

WARNING!! The alarm pheromone of bees makes them attack would be invaders. The pheromone is the ester 3-methylbut-1-ylethanoate, which also happens to be the principal component of banana oil. Don't eat bananas near a beehive!