How would you distinguish experimentally between an alcohol and a carboxylic acid?
Solution: On reaction with Sodium Carbonate, Carboxylic acids produces carbon dioxide gas which turns lime water milky whereas alcohols do not give this reaction. This experiment can be used to distinguish an alcohol and carboxylic acid.
Reaction of Carboxylic acid with sodium carbonate:
2CH3COOH + Na2CO3 → 2CH3COONa + H2O + CO2