Posts Tagged ‘General’
Lactide is a small molecule made from lactic acid, which is itself available in large quantities by harvesting plants rather than drilling for oil. Lactide can be turned into polymers with remarkable properties, which in turn degrade down easily back to lactic acid. A perfect bio-renewable material!
Some molecules, when you first see them, just intrigue. So it was with carbobenzene, the synthesis of a derivative of which was recently achieved by Remi Chauvin and co-workers (DOI: 10.1002/chem.200601193). Two additional carbon atoms have been inserted into each of the six C-C bonds in benzene.
Stoyanov, Stoyanova and Reed recently published on the structure of the hydrogen ion in water. Their model was H(H2O)n+, where n=6 (DOI: 10.1021/ja9101826). This suggestion was picked up by Steve Bachrach on his blog, where he added a further three structures to the proposed list, and noted of course that with this type of system there must be a fair chance that the true structure consists of a well-distributed Boltzmann population of a number of almost iso-energetic forms.
Scientists write blogs for a variety of reasons. But these do probably not include getting tenure (or grants). For that one has to publish. And I will argue here that a blog is not currently accepted as a scientific publication (for more discussion on this point, see this article by Maureen Pennock and Richard Davis). For chemists, publication means in a relatively small number of high-impact journals. Anything more than five articles a year in such journals, and your tenure is (probably) secure (if not your funding).
In the previous post, I suggested that inspecting the imaginary modes of planar cyclohexane might be a fruitful and systematic way in which at least parts of the conformational surface of this ring might be probed. Here, the same process is conducted for cyclo-octane. The ring starts with planar D8h symmetry, and at this geometry (B3LYP/6-311G(d,p), DOI: 10042/to-3742) five negative force constants (corresponding to imaginary modes) are calculated. The most negative is non-degenerate, and gives directly the crown conformation of D4d symmetry (DOI: 10042/to-3738). The remaining four modes comprise two degenerate pairs. Following either of the E2u eigenvectors downhill leads to another conformation, D2d (DOI: 10042/to-3741), with a geometry which is noteworthy for exhibiting a pair of unusually close non-bonded H…H contacts (1.908Å). This value is about 0.3Å shorter than the sum of the Wan der Waals radii (DOI: 10.1021/jp8111556). We can debate whether such a close approach or inter-penetration of two hydrogens is a bond or not (an AIM analysis appears at the bottom of this post). (more…)
Like benzene, its fully saturated version cyclohexane represents an icon of organic chemistry. By 1890, the structure of planar benzene was pretty much understood, but organic chemistry was still struggling somewhat to fully embrace three rather than two dimensions. A grand-old-man of organic chemistry at the time, Adolf von Baeyer, believed that cyclohexane too was flat, and what he said went. So when a young upstart named Hermann Sachse suggested it was not flat, and furthermore could exist in two forms, which we now call chair and boat, no-one believed him. His was a trigonometric proof, deriving from the tetrahedral angle of 109.47 at carbon, and producing what he termed strainless rings.