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Clemmensen Reduction of Ketones/Aldehydes to Alkanes

Description: Addition of zinc amalgam, Zn(Hg) and acid to a ketone results in an alkane. This is called the Clemmensen reduction.


Notes: Acid is required for this reaction. Although H3O(+) is drawn, other acids such as H2SO4 can be used as well. The R group is usually an aromatic group.


Notes: The reaction doesn’t work as well with ketones that are not adjacent to an aromatic ring.

Mechanism: For the purposes of Org 1/ Org 2 the mechaism of this reaction is not that important (it actually isn’t fully understood).