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Equilibrium chemistry | Henry Rzepa's Blog

Henry Rzepa's Blog Chemistry with a twist

January 13, 2019

Free energy relationships and their linearity: a test example.

Linear free energy relationships (LFER) are associated with the dawn of physical organic chemistry in the late 1930s and its objectives in understanding chemical reactivity as measured by reaction rates and equilibria.


April 24, 2016

Autoionization of hydrogen fluoride.

The autoionization of water involves two molecules transfering a proton to give hydronium hydroxide, a process for which the free energy of reaction is well known. Here I ask what might happen with the next element along in the periodic table, F.


April 14, 2016

Hydronium hydroxide: the why of pH 7.

Ammonium hydroxide (NH4+…OH) can be characterised quantum mechanically when stabilised by water bridges connecting the ion-pairs. It is a small step from there to hydronium hydroxide, or H3O+…OH. The measured concentrations [H3O+] ≡ [OH] give rise of course to the well-known pH 7 of pure water, and converting this ionization constant to a free energy indicates that the solvated ion-pair must be some ~19.1 kcal/mol higher in free energy than water itself. So can a quantum calculation reproduce pH7 for water?


January 7, 2016

I’ve started so I’ll finish. The ionisation mechanism and kinetic isotope effects for 1,3-dimethylindolin-2 one

This is the third and final study deriving from my Ph.D.[1]. The first two topics dealt with the mechanism of heteroaromatic electrophilic attack using either a diazonium cation or a proton as electrophile, followed by either proton abstraction or carbon dioxide loss from the resulting Wheland intermediate. This final study inverts this sequence by starting with the proton abstraction from an indolinone by a base to create/aromatize to a indole-2-enolate intermediate, which only then is followed by electrophilic attack (by iodine).  Here I explore what light quantum chemical modelling might cast on the mechanism.



  1. B.C. Challis, and H.S. Rzepa, "Heteroaromatic hydrogen exchange reactions. Part VIII. The ionisation of 1,3-dimethylindolin-2-one", Journal of the Chemical Society, Perkin Transactions 2, pp. 1822, 1975. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/P29750001822

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