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Advanced Organic Chemistry: Mass spectrum of ethyl ethanoate

The mass spectrum of ethyl ethanoate (ethyl acetate)

Doc Brown's Chemistry Advanced Level Pre-University Chemistry Revision Study Notes for UK IB KS5 A/AS GCE advanced A level organic chemistry students US K12 grade 11 grade 12 organic chemistry courses involving molecular spectroscopy analysing mass spectra of ethyl ethanoate

mass spectrum of ethyl ethanoate fragmentation pattern of m/z m/e ions for analysis and identification of ethyl acetate image diagram doc brown's advanced organic chemistry revision notes 

Interpreting the fragmentation pattern of the mass spectrum of ethyl ethanoate

Ethyl ethanoate C4H8O2  (c) doc b , (c) doc b , (c) doc b , (c) doc b 

[M]+ is the molecular ion peak (M) with an m/z of 88 corresponding to [C4H8O2]+, the original ethyl ethanoate molecule minus an electron, [CH3COOCH2CH3]+.

You might see a tiny M+1 peak at m/z 89, corresponding to an ionised ethyl ethanoate molecule with one 13C atom in it i.e. an ionised ethyl ethanoate molecule of formula 13C12C3H8O2

Identifying the species giving the most prominent peaks (apart from M) in the fragmentation pattern of ethyl ethanoate.

m/z value of [fragment]+ 73 70 61 45 43 29 27 15
[molecular fragment]+ [C2H5O-C=O]+ [?]+ [?]+ [C2H5O]+ [CH3C=O]+ [CH3CH2]+ [?]+ [CH3]+

Explaining the principal fragments of the mass spectrum of ethyl ethanoate

The most abundant ion peaks

Formation of m/z 73 ion:  [CH3COOCH2CH3]+  ===>  [C2H5O-C=O]+  +  CH3

Formation of m/z 43 ion:  [CH3COOCH2CH3]+  ===>  [CH3C=O]+  +  CH3

The m/z 43 ion is the base peak, the most abundant 'stable' ion fragment.

Formation of m/z 15 ion:  [CH3COOCH2CH3]+  ===>  [CH3]+  +  C3H5O2


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