Kinetic isotope effects, dynamic effects, and mechanistic studies of organic reactions



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Texas A&M University


Several organic reactions that could potentially involve coarctate transition states were investigated by a combination of experimental and theoretical studies. In the thermal fragmentation of ??????-1,3,4-oxadiazolines, the mechanism supported by kinetic isotope effects and theoretical calculations is a three-step process that does not demonstrate any special stabilization in coarctate transition states. Rather than undergoing a direct coarctate conversion to product, the mechanism avoids coarctate steps. The last step is a concerted coarctate reaction, but being concerted may be viewed as being enforced by the necessity to avoid high-energy intermediates. In the deoxygenation of epoxides with dichlorocarbene, the stabilization from the transition state aromaticity is not great enough to compete with the preference for asynchronous bonding changes. KIEs and calculations suggested that the reaction occurs in a concerted manner but with a highly asynchronous early transition state with much more C????-O bond breaking than C????-O bond breaking. In the Shi epoxidation, a large ????-olefinic 13C isotope effect and small ????-carbon isotope effect indicated an asynchronous transition state with more advanced formation of the C-O bond to the ????-olefinic carbon. The calculated lowest-energy transition structures are generally those in which the differential formation of the incipient C-O bonds, the "asynchronicity," resembles that of an unhindered model, and the imposition of greater or less asynchronicity leads to higher barriers. In reactions of cis-disubstituted and terminal alkenes using Shi's oxazolidinone catalyst, the asynchronicity of the epoxidation transition state leads to increased steric interaction with the oxazolidinone when a ????-conjugating substituent is distal to the oxazolidinone but decreased steric interaction when the ????-conjugating substituent is proximal to the oxazolidinone. Dynamic effects were studied in Diels-Alder reaction between acrolein and methyl vinyl ketone. This reaction yields two products in a ratio of 3.0 ???? 0.5. Theoretical studies shows that only one transition structure is involved in the formation of both. Quasiclassical trajectory calculations on an MP2 surface give a prediction of a product ratio of 45:14 (3.2:1), which is in good agreement with the experimental observation.