The Clemmensen reduction uses amalgamated zinc (Zn/Hg) and hydrochloric acid to reduce an aldehyde or ketone to an alkane. Two proposed mechanisms exist: the “Carbanionic mechanism” involves zinc directly attacking the carbonyl group and the formation of carbanion intermediates, while the “Carbenoid mechanism” occurs on the surface of zinc, involving a radical intermediate and zinc carbenoid.

  • Reagents: Zn(Hg), Organic Solvent (e.g. Toluene), HCl (40% aq.)
  • Reactant: Aldehyde or Ketone
  • Product: Alkane
  • Type of Reaction: Reduction


Top Citations

Original Paper

Related Reactions

  • Wolff-Kishner Reduction
  • Corey-Bakshi-Shibata Reduction

Related Compounds

  • Zn Catalyst
  • HCl (CAS 7647-01-0)
  • Ketone
By shuhan yang


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