Advanced Practical Organic Chemistry: 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Advanced Practical Organic Chemistry

3rd Edition

By John Leonard, Barry Lygo, Garry Procter

CRC Press

356 pages | 153 B/W Illus.

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Any research that uses new organic chemicals, or ones that are not commercially available, will at some time require the synthesis of such compounds. Therefore, organic synthesis is important in many areas of both applied and academic research, from chemistry to biology, biochemistry, and materials science. The third edition of a bestseller, Advanced Practical Organic Chemistry is a guide that explains the basic techniques of organic chemistry, presenting the necessary information for readers to carry out widely used modern organic synthesis reactions.

This book is written for advanced undergraduate and graduate students as well as industrial organic chemists, particularly those involved in pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and other areas of fine chemical research. It provides the novice or nonspecialist with the often difficult-to-find information on reagent properties needed to perform general techniques. With over 80 years combined experience training and developing organic research chemists in industry and academia, the authors offer sufficient guidance for researchers to perform reactions under conditions that give the highest chance of success, including the appropriate precautions to take and proper experimental protocols. The text also covers the following topics:

  • Record keeping and equipment
  • Solvent purification and reagent preparation
  • Using gases and working with vacuum pumps
  • Purification, including crystallization and distillation
  • Small-scale and large-scale reactions
  • Characterization, including NMR spectra, melting point and boiling point, and microanalysis
  • Efficient ways to find information in the chemical literature

With fully updated text and all newly drawn figures, the third edition provides a powerful tool for building the knowledge on the most up-to-date techniques commonly used in organic synthesis.


Praise for Previous Editions

"…concise and highly readable … I would recommend this book as an essential purchase for all new research students in the area of organic synthesis"

Synthesis, June 1995

"This book should be present in every organic chemistry research laboratory…a bargain at the price."

Chemistry & Industry, July 1995

"Reading this book is like having a thoughtful and smart tutor guiding all your steps in the laboratory…excellent choice.."

Physical Sciences Educational Reviews

Table of Contents

General introduction


Safety is your primary responsibility

Safe working practice

Safety risk assessments

Common hazards

Accident and emergency procedures


Keeping records of laboratory work


The laboratory notebook

Keeping records of data

Some tips on report and thesis preparation


Equipping the laboratory and the bench


Setting up the laboratory

General laboratory equipment

The individual bench

Equipment for parallel experiments

Equipment for controlled experimentation

Purification and drying of solvents


Purification of solvents

Drying agents

Drying of solvents


Reagents: Preparation, purification, and handling


Classification of reagents for handling

Techniques for obtaining pure and dry reagents

Techniques for handling and measuring reagents

Preparation and titration of simple organometallic reagents and lithium amide bases

Preparation of diazomethane




Use of gas cylinders

Handling gases

Measurement of gases

Inert gases

Reagent gases


Vacuum pumps


House vacuum systems (low vacuum)

Medium vacuum pumps

High vacuum pumps

Pressure measurement and regulation

Carrying out the reaction


Reactions with air-sensitive reagents

Reaction monitoring

Reactions at other than room temperature

Driving equilibria


Use of controlled reactor systems


Working up the reaction


Quenching the reaction

Isolation of the crude product

Data that need to be collected on the crude product prior to purification






Flash chromatography

Dry-column flash chromatography

Preparative TLC

Medium pressure and prepacked chromatography systems

Preparative HPLC


Small-scale reactions


Reactions at or below room temperature

Reactions above room temperature

Reactions in NMR tubes

Purification of materials

Large-scale reactions


Carrying out the reaction

Workup and product isolation

Purification of the products

Special procedures


Catalytic hydrogenation



Flash vacuum pyrolysis (FVP)

Liquid ammonia reactions

Microwave reactions




NMR spectra

IR spectra

UV spectroscopy

Mass spectrometry

Melting point (m.p.) and boiling point (b.p.)

Optical rotation


Keeping the data

Troubleshooting: What to do when things don’t work

The chemical literature

The structure of the chemical literature

Some important paper-based sources of chemical information

Some important electronic-based sources of chemical information

How to find chemical information

Current awareness



Properties of common solvents

Properties of common gases

Approximate pKa values for some common reagents versus common bases

Common Bronsted acids

Common Lewis acids

Common reducing reagents

Common oxidizing reagents


About the Authors

John Leonard is currently a principal scientist at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, where he is primarily involved with synthetic route design and development activities. Prior to this he was a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Salford, UK.

Garry Procteris a professor and director of teaching in the School of Chemistry at the University of Manchester, UK. Before this he was director of undergraduate laboratories in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University.

Barry Lygois currently a professor of chemistry at the University of Nottingham, UK, working in the field of asymmetric catalysis and synthesis.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Biochemistry
SCIENCE / Chemistry / General
SCIENCE / Chemistry / Organic
SCIENCE / Chemistry / Industrial & Technical