The previous post described how the acid catalysed ring opening of propene epoxide by an alcohol (methanol) is preceded by pre-protonation of the epoxide oxygen to form a “hidden intermediate” on the concerted intrinsic reaction pathway to ring opening. Here I take a look at the mechanism where a strong base is present, modelled by tetramethyl ammonium methoxide (R4N+.-OMe), for the two isomers R=Me; R’=Me, R”=H and R’=H, R”=Me.
Archive for the ‘Tutorial material’ Category
I recently got an email from a student asking about the best way of rationalising epoxide ring opening using some form of molecule orbitals. This reminded me of the famous experiment involving propene epoxide.
- H.C. Chitwood, and B.T. Freure, "", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 68, pp. 680-683, 1946. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja01208a047
Back in the days (1893) when few compounds were known, new ones could end up being named after the discoverer. Thus Feist is known for the compound bearing his name; the 2,3 carboxylic acid of methylenecyclopropane (1, with Me replaced by CO2H). Compound 1 itself nowadays is used to calibrate chiroptical calculations, which is what brought it to my attention. But about four decades ago, and now largely forgotten, both 1 and the dicarboxylic acid were famous for the following rearrangement that gives a mixture of 2 and 3. I thought I might here unpick some of the wonderfully subtle stereochemical analysis that this little molecule became subjected to.
- E.D. Hedegård, F. Jensen, and J. Kongsted, "Basis Set Recommendations for DFT Calculations of Gas-Phase Optical Rotation at Different Wavelengths", Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, vol. 8, pp. 4425-4433, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ct300359s
- J.J. Gajewski, "Hydrocarbon thermal degenerate rearrangements. IV. Stereochemistry of the methylenecyclopropane self-interconversion. Chiral and achiral intermediates", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 93, pp. 4450-4458, 1971. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja00747a019
My previous dissection of the mechanism for ester hydrolysis dealt with the acyl-oxygen cleavage route (red bond). There is a much rarer alternative: alkyl-oxygen cleavage (green bond) which I now place under the microscope.
- C.A. Bunton, and J.L. Wood, "Tracer studies on ester hydrolysis. Part II. The acid hydrolysis of tert.-butyl acetate", Journal of the Chemical Society (Resumed), pp. 1522, 1955. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/jr9550001522
The mechanism of ester hydrolysis is a staple of examination questions in organic chemistry. To get a good grade, one might have to reproduce something like the below. Here, I subject that answer to a reality check.
I mentioned in the last post that one can try to predict the outcome of electrophilic aromatic substitution by approximating the properties of the transition state from those of either the reactant or the (presumed Wheland) intermediate by invoking Hammond’s postulate. A third option is readily available nowadays; calculate the transition state directly. Here are the results of exploring this third variation.
- G.S. Hammond, "", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 77, pp. 334-338, 1955. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja01607a027
The electrophilic substitution of indoles is a staple of any course on organic chemistry. Indoles also hold a soft-spot for me, since I synthesized not a few as part of my Ph.D. studies., The preference for substitution in the 3-position is normally explained using the arrows shown below (position 3=green,2=blue,1=red). Here I explore how these arrows might be interpreted in terms of various quantum mechanical properties.
- B.C. Challis, and H.S. Rzepa, "The mechanism of diazo-coupling to indoles and the effect of steric hindrance on the rate-limiting step", Journal of the Chemical Society, Perkin Transactions 2, pp. 1209, 1975. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/p29750001209
- B.C. Challis, and H.S. Rzepa, "Heteroaromatic hydrogen exchange reactions. Part 9. Acid catalysed decarboxylation of indole-3-carboxylic acids", Journal of the Chemical Society, Perkin Transactions 2, pp. 281, 1977. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/p29770000281
Infra-red spectroscopy of molecules was introduced 110 years ago by Coblentz as the first functional group spectroscopic method (“ The structure of the compound has a great influence on the absorption spectra. In many cases it seems as though certain bonds are due to certain groups.“). It hangs on in laboratories to this day as a rapid and occasionally valuable diagnostic tool, taking just minutes to measure. Its modern utility rests on detecting common functional groups, mostly based around identifying the nature of double or triple bonds, and to a lesser extent in differentiating between different kinds of C-H stretches (and of course OH and NH). One common use is to identify the environment of carbonyl groups, C=O. These tend to come in the form of aldehydes and ketones, esters, amides, acyl halides, anhydrides and carbonyls which are part of small rings. The analysis is performed by assigning the value of the C=O stretching wavenumber to a particular range characteristic of each type of compound. Thus ketones are said to inhabit the range of ~1715-1740 cm-1 and simple esters come at ~1740-1760 cm-1, some 20-30 cm-1 higher. Here I try to analyse how this difference arises.
- W.W. Coblentz, "Infra-red Absorption Spectra: I. Gases", Physical Review (Series I), vol. 20, pp. 273-291, 1905. http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSeriesI.20.273
- J.L. Arbour, H.S. Rzepa, J. Contreras-García, L.A. Adrio, E.M. Barreiro, and K.K.M. Hii, "Silver-Catalysed Enantioselective Addition of OH and NH Bonds to Allenes: A New Model for Stereoselectivity Based on Noncovalent Interactions", Chemistry - A European Journal, vol. 18, pp. 11317-11324, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201200547