An experiment involving the Claisen condensation reaction for a first-year organic chemistry laboratory is presented. Claisen condensations are routinely covered in organic textbooks but owing to the long reaction times required to reach equilibrium in solution they are seldom explored in the undergraduate teaching laboratory. In this experiment, potassium tert-butoxide and ethyl phenylacetate are heated to 100 °C for 30 minutes under solvent-free conditions to produce 2,4-diphenyl acetoacetate in 80% yield. The solvent-free nature of this procedure greatly reduces the quantity of waste generated by students relative to typical carbonyl condensation experiments.
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