Skip to content

Kolbe Electrolysis

March 4, 2013

Kolbe electrolysis also called as kolbe reaction is an organic reaction named after German chemist Adolph Wilhelm Hermann Kolbe.

This reaction is a electrochemical decarboxylation of the salts of carboxylic acid which produces radicals. This reaction is also called as decarboxylative dimerisation since it proceeds with radical reaction mechanism. This reaction is used to synthesis of symmetrical dimers. It can also be employed for a mixture of carboxylic acid in order to furnish unsymmetrical dimers.

For example, consider the following reaction

Kolbe electrolysis

Free radicals always undergo disproportionation or auto oxidation and dimerization. Because of these reaction in kolbe electrolysis always the mixture of hydrocarbons are formed.


  • For example, Consider sodium succinate
  • When this compound undergo kolbe elctrolysis
  • The reaction will be as follows

Kolbe reaction example


  1. Predict the product formed when sodium propionate undergoes kolbe electrolysis
  • Hexane
  • Pentane
  • Butane
  • All


From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: