A Level Chemistry - Drying Agent vs Dehydrating Agent

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revisionlad
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Hi,

What is the difference between a Drying agent such as CaCl2 and a Dehydrating Agent such as H2SO4?

I've heard that H2SO4 can be used in Esterification reactions to increase yield, but does it act as a drying agent to remove water, hence push equilibrium to RHS, whilst also acting as a catalyst in supplying H+ ions?

Hence, does CaCl2 not also remove water impurities in a seperating funnel of when you practically do the Esterifcation exp? -- - why is this known as a drying agent whereas H2SO4 is known as a dehydrating agent?

Thanks.

RevLad.
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Thomas Midgley
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Drying agents are usually insoluble salts that will remove water molecules from organic solvents or an atmosphere in a dessicator to form hydrated salts.
For example MgCl2 + 4H2O ---> MgCl2.4H2O

Dehydrating agents like sulphuric acid remove water during a chemical synthesis or reaction.
For example Hydrated copper(II) sulfate has the formula CuSO4. 5H2O. The addition of concentrated sulfuric acid removes the water of crystallisation to produce anhydrous copper(II) sulfate.
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Wolfram Alpha
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Drying agent just removes the moisture whereas a dehydrating agent usually acts as a reactant, it helps the formation of a new substance by removing some parts of the other reactant as water.
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