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The Grignard reagent is highly reactive and reacts with most organic compounds. It also reacts with water, carbon dioxide and oxygen. Grignard reagents are prepared by the reaction of magnesium metal with appropriate alkyl halide in ether solvent. The halogen may be -Cl, -Br, or -I. One of the most important uses of the Grignard Reagent is the reaction with aldehydes and ketones to form alcohol. A related synthesis uses ethylene oxide to prepare alcohols containing two more carbon atoms than that of the alkyl halide.
The reaction of the Grignard reagent with carboxylic ester is an excellent method for preparing tertiary alcohol. Thiols and sulfides are occasionally prepared by treatment of Grignard reagent with sulfur. Carbon dioxide reacts with Grignard reagent to produce carboxylate salt. The reaction is usually performed by the addition of Grignard reagent into dry ice. Grignard reagent adds to CS2 to give salts of dithio carboxylic acids. Grignard reagent is an important reagent to form C-C bonds as it reacts with many organic compounds excepting hydrocarbons, ethers and tertiary amines. Grignard reagents find extensive application in the formation of several carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds such as carbonphosphorus, carbon-silicon, carbon-boron, carbon-oxygen, and carbontin. Grignard reagents also react with many metal-based electrophiles, for example to prepare dialkylcadmium, which is useful in the preparation of ketones from acyl halides.