List of Key Name Reactions in Organic Chemistry

List of Key Name Reactions in Organic Chemistry

A name reaction is a chemical reaction that has the person’s name who invented or discovered it. Throughout history, several well-known chemical reactions are named after notable individuals. 

As organic chemistry progressed throughout the twentieth century, scientists started to identify the names of persons who found or created synthetically useful chemical reactions with those who discovered or developed those reactions. 

Numerous reactions were associated with their discoverers’ names to help scientists in mnemonically recalling the reaction. Check the list of essential name reactions, which provides a brief schematic preview to help you understand critical name reactions in organic chemistry.

The Mechanisms Of Significant List Of Important Name Reactions

  1. Aldol Condensation: Aldol condensation is a chemical reaction in which an enolate ion reacts with a carbonyl molecule to form alcohol or ketone. The alcohol or ketone is subsequently dehydrated to form an enone conjugated to an aldehyde.
  2. Balz-Schiemann Reaction: The Balz-Schiemann Reaction was discovered by German scientists Günther Schiemann and Günther Balz. This reaction demonstrates the conversion of arylamines to aryl fluorides. 

Diazotization initiates the reaction, followed by thermal decomposition of the resultant hexafluorophosphate or tetrafluoroborate.

  1. Cannizzaro Reaction: The Cannizzaro Reaction has been named in honour of Stanislao Cannizzaro. The chemical process depicts the disproportionation of an enolizable aldehyde that occurs in the presence of a base.
  2. Clemmensen Reduction: The Clemmensen Reduction reaction, named after Erik Christian Clemmensen, a Danish chemist who discovered it in the early 1900s. Using zinc amalgam and hydrochloric acid as starting ingredients, the Clemmensen Reduction method explains how to reduce ketones or aldehydes to alkanes.
  3. Etard Reaction: The Etard Reaction, named after Alexandre Léon Étard, a French physicist discovered in the early 1900s. A powerful oxidising agent, a heterocyclic bound or an aromatic methyl group, is transformed directly to an aldehyde in the Etard Reaction by chromyl chloride.
  4. Finkelstein Reaction: Finkelstein’s Reaction is named after Hans Finkelstein, a pioneering German chemist. The Finkelstein Reaction involves exchanging of a halogen atom through a Nucleophilic Bimolecular Substitution Reaction.
  5. Friedel Crafts Reaction: The Friedel Crafts Reaction was created in 1877 and named after Charles Friedel and James Crafts. The Friedel – Crafts Reaction is a chemical reaction used in organic synthesis to add substituents to an aromatic ring.
  6. Gabriel Phthalimide Synthesis: Siegmund Gabriel, a German chemist, invented Gabriel Phthalimide Synthesis, which gets used in synthesising primary amines from primary alkyl halides, is an example of a chemical reaction.
  7. Gattermann Reaction: The Gattermann Reaction, ascribed to Ludwig Gattermann, is a German scientist. The Gattermann salicylaldehyde synthesis, sometimes referred to by its complete name, is a chemical reaction in which aromatic molecules are formulated with hydrogen cyanide in the presence of a Friedel–Crafts catalyst.
  8. Gattermann – Koch Reaction: The Gattermann–Koch reaction gets it to name after two early twentieth-century German physicists, Julius Arnold Koch and Ludwig Gattermann. 

The Friedel–Crafts acylation reaction utilises a Friedel–Crafts catalyst, hydrochloric acid, and carbon monoxide to produce aromatic aldehydes from various aromatic compounds. It includes naphthalene and benzene derivatives, which is referred to as a Gattermann–Koch reaction.

  1. Grignard Synthesis: A Grignard Synthesis Reaction may be performed by reacting magnesium halides (Grignard reagents) with the carbonyl group of an aldehyde, ketone, or alkene to produce acetonitrile. 
  2. Kolbe’s Reaction: Kolbe’s Reaction creates aromatic hydroxy acid when the resulting product gets effectively treated with sulfuric acid. It gets produced by heating sodium phenoxide with carbon dioxide to around 100 atmospheres of pressure and then cooling the combination to room temperature. 
  3. Reimer- Tiemann Reaction: Karl Reimer and Ferdinand Tiemann invented the Reimer-Tiemann Reaction in 1899. They have their distinct track for examining the ortho-formylation of phenols. 
  4. Rosenmund Reduction: In 1921, the reduction was given this name in honour of Karl Wilhelm Rosenmund, who initially reported the discovery of the Rosenmund reduction in 1918. The acyl chloride reduction process is a hydrogenation reaction in which an acyl chloride is selectively reduced to an aldehyde.
  5. Sandmeyer Reaction: Traugott Sandmeyer inspired the Sandmeyer Reaction’s name, which was initially published in 1884. We can synthesise aryl halides via the Sandmeyer Process, a chemical process that utilises aryl diazonium ions. 

Apart from hydroxylation, trifluoromethylation, cyanation, and halogenation, the Sandmeyer Reaction is capable of many other unique transformations of benzene.

  1. Stephen Reaction:  Henry Stephen discovered aldehyde synthesis, as it is also called. This chemical reaction, which utilises tin(II) chloride and hydrochloric acid, results in aldehydes from nitriles, followed by the quenching of the resulting iminium salt with water. Additionally, ammonium chloride gets produced as a by-product of the operation.
  2. Swartz Reaction:  When alkyl halides are present, halogen exchange reactions such as the Swarts or Finkelstein reactions occur.
  3. Williamson Synthesis: In 1850, Alexander Williamson discovered this chemical process and utilised it to synthesise ether. The Williamson ether synthesis occurs when an organohalide and deprotonated alcohol are joined to form an ‘ether’.
  4. Wolff – Kishner Reduction:  In 1911 and 1912, Nikolai Kishner and Ludwig Wolff described the Wolff – Kishner Reduction reaction for the first time. When carbonyl functionalities change to methylene groups, organic chemistry refers to this as an ‘eponymous reaction’.
  5. Wurtz Reaction:  The Wurtz reaction, named after Charles-Adolphe Wurtz, is a coupling reaction used in organic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, and, more recently, inorganic main group polymers. 

It involves the reaction of two alkyl halides with sodium metal in a dry ether solution to form a higher molecular weight alkane.

  1. Wurtz – Fittig Reaction:  The Wurtz–Fittig reaction is a chemical reaction that occurs when aryl halides and other alkyl halides and sodium metal combine in the presence of dry ether to create substituted aromatic compounds.
  2. Carbylamine Reaction:  The Carbylamine reaction is also known as the Hofmann isocyanide synthesis. To make isocyanides, mix a primary amine with chloroform and a base.
  3. Fischer Esterification:  The final product is produced by inorganic processes such as Fischer Esterification. Carboxylic acids get transformed to ester compounds in the presence of sufficient alcohol and a strong acid catalyst.
  4. Haloform Reaction:  A chemical process that results in the formation of haloforms is the exhaustive halogenation of either methyl aldehyde or methyl ketone in the presence of a base.
  5. Hell-Volhard-Zelinsky Reaction: The Hell-Volhard-Zelinsky reaction gets used to halogenate carboxylic acids at the alpha carbon to get the required outcome. 
  6. Hoffmann Bromamide Reaction: This reaction converts a primary amide to a primary amine with one more minor carbon atom than the primary amide initially formed.


Students preparing for board exams and competitive tests will find the list of essential name reactions presented in this article to be of great assistance. And the concerned students can review their name responses regularly to ensure that they do not miss any vital information.