How To Predict The Product Of An Intramolecular Aldol Condensation Reaction

Intramolecular reactions happens when one end of the molecule attacks another part of the molecule creating a ring (think of a dog trying to bite its tail). In the example below, we learn how to predict a product of an intramolecular aldol condensation in base (KOH). In base, the first step is taking off an alpha hydrogen (hydrogen on the carbon next to C=O), putting a negative charge on the alpha carbon. This is followed by the negatively charged alpha carbon attacking another C=O (carbonyl group) and forming a ring. Numbering helps to draw the product of this step correctly (number carbon attack, carbon being attacked and everything in between). This is followed by protonation of O- and then dehydration and creation of a double bond between alpha and beta carbon to form the final product.

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