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    I know that primary and secondary alcohols can be oxidised seeing as there are 2 available hydrogen's that can bond with the oxidising agent (oxygen) and can create water. I thought a tertiary alcohol only has one hydrogen that's why it can't be oxidised.

    However, my textbook says it's because oxidising requires the breakage of a C-C bond and there are only C-H bonds available. C-C bonds don't even break in oxidising, hydrogen's are removed... I'm confused
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    There are no hydrogens on the carbon attached to the OH to remove if you want to think of it like that - in primary and secondary alcohols, there are, and so these can be oxidised.

    You're trying to form C=O from C-OH and the only way to do that without breaking C-C bonds in tertiary alcohols, is to have a carbon with 5 bonds, which is not possible :nah:
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    (Original post by Magenta96)
    I know that primary and secondary alcohols can be oxidised seeing as there are 2 available hydrogen's that can bond with the oxidising agent (oxygen) and can create water. I thought a tertiary alcohol only has one hydrogen that's why it can't be oxidised.

    However, my textbook says it's because oxidising requires the breakage of a C-C bond and there are only C-H bonds available. C-C bonds don't even break in oxidising, hydrogen's are removed... I'm confused
    In tertiary alcohols, there are no hydrogen atoms bonded to the carbon atom that has the OH group (like 2-methylpropan-2-ol). I think what they are saying is that for oxidsation you need to break a C-H bond, but in tertiary alcohols, there are no C-H bonds that are adjacent/neighbouring the OH group.
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    There aren't any hydrogen atoms bonded onto the same carbon as the OH group, and so it cannot be oxidised
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    The central C doesn't not contain a single H bond so no oxidation can take place (no condensation reaction).
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    Oh it makes sense now that the explanations are more to do with the C-H bond rather than the C-C bond, thank you
 
 
 
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