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Advanced Organic Chemistry: Mass spectrum of propanal

The mass spectrum of propanal (propionaldehyde)

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 propanal

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

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Interpreting the fragmentation pattern of the mass spectrum of propanal  (propionaldehyde)

[M]+ is the molecular ion peak (M) with an m/z of 58 corresponding to [C3H6O]+, the original propanal molecule minus an electron, [CH3CH2CHO]+.

The small M+1 peak at m/z 59, corresponds to an ionised propanal molecule with one 13C atom in it i.e. an ionised propanal molecule of formula 13C12C2H6O

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

m/z value of [fragment]+ 57 39 31 ? 30 29
[molecular fragment]+ [CH3CH2C=O]+ [C3H3]+ [CH2OH]+ [H2C=O]+ [CHO]+
m/z value of [fragment]+ 29 28 27 26 18 ? 15
[molecular fragment]+ [CH3CH2]+ [C2H4]+ [C2H3]+ [C2H2]+ [H2O]+ [CH3]+

Analysing and explaining the principal ions in the fragmentation pattern of the mass spectrum of propanal

Equations to explain the most abundant ion peaks of propanal

Formation of m/z 29 ion: [CH3CH2CHO]+  ===>  [CHO]+  +  CH3CH2

Formation of m/z 29 ion: [CH3CH2CHO]+  ===>  [CH3CH2]+  +  CHO

The m/z 29 ion is the base peak ion, the most abundant ion fragment from two sources, both formed from alternative ionisation of fragments from a C-C bond fission.

Formation of m/z 15 ion: [CH3CH2]+  ===>  [CH3]+  +  CH2


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