Henry Rzepa's Blog Chemistry with a twist

October 23, 2015

Interactions responsible for the lowest energy structure of the trimer of fluoroethanol.

Steve Bachrach on his own blog has commented on a recent article[1] discussing the structure of the trimer of fluoroethanol. Rather than the expected triangular form with three OH—O hydrogen bonds, the lowest energy form only had two such bonds, but it matched the microwave data much better. Here I explore this a bit more.

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References

  1. J. Thomas, X. Liu, W. Jäger, and Y. Xu, "Unusual H‐Bond Topology and Bifurcated H‐bonds in the 2‐Fluoroethanol Trimer", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol. 54, pp. 11711-11715, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201505934

November 13, 2011

The dawn of organic reaction mechanism: the prequel.

Following on from Armstrong’s almost electronic theory of chemistry in 1887-1890, and Beckmann’s radical idea around the same time that molecules undergoing transformations might do so via a reaction mechanism involving unseen intermediates (in his case, a transient enol of a ketone) I here describe how these concepts underwent further evolution in the early 1920s. My focus is on Edith Hilda Usherwood, who was then a PhD student at Imperial College working under the supervision of Martha Whitely.1

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