Alcoholates

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Alcoholates are strongly basic reaction products of alcohols with alkaline metals, alkaline earth metals or aluminum under release of hydrogen. With water hydrolysis takes place to the alcohol and alkali metal hydroxide. This reaction is used for the production of absolute (water-free) ethyl alcohol, as thin sodium wire is pressed in. The primarily formed alcoholate is hydrolyzed by the traces of water in the alcohol, until the water has completely reacted.

In particular the Methylate, Ethylate, Isoproylate and Butylate have technical importance for condensation, ester formation and alkylation reactions as well as for the introduction of the alkoxy group into chemical derivates. Conversion of alcoholates with halogen alkanes results in ethers (Williamson synthesis).