An instrument-free classification of phenolic compounds using ferric chloride reagent to improve organic chemistry teaching and learning

  • Kotchakorn Klangmanee
  • Anan Athipornchai Department of Chemistry and Center of Excellence for Innovation in Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Burapha University, Bangsaen, Chonburi 20131 Thailand
Keywords: Classification, Phenolic compounds, Ferric chloride, Organic Chemistry


The chemistry of functional groups is an essential component of basic organic chemistry courses in the undergraduate level. A rapid qualitative method to classify the type of phenolic compounds for improves organic chemistry teaching and learning has been developed. The solution of FeCl3 was used as the reagent. The different colors of the phenolic–Fe3+ complexes solutions were observed in their phenolic compounds. The phenolic compounds with ortho-dihydroxy and ortho-trihydroxy groups specifically obtained the dark green color of the solutions. In this paper, we present a low-cost detector, designed to classify the types of phenolic compounds based on visual observation of colors, but simple enough in concept and operation to be used as a teaching tool.


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