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Conformational Preferences of trans-1,2- and cis-1,3- Cyclohexanedicarboxylic Acids in Water and Dimethyl Sulfoxide as a Function of the Ionization State As Determined from NMR Spectroscopy and Density Functional Theory Quantum Mechanical Calculations

American Chemical Society
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  • Mathematics


The populations of diaxial (aa) and diequatorial (ee) conformers of trans-1,2- and cis-1,3-cyclohexanedicarboxylic acids (CDCAs; 1 and 2, respectively) and their salts were determined in water and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) solutions from vicinal proton–proton NMR J couplings (3J_(HH)). Optimized geometries and free energies for these compounds were obtained at the M06-2X/cc-pVTZ(-f)++ level. Although carboxylic acid groups in cyclohexane rings are generally believed to be far more stable (~2 kcal/mol) in equatorial than axial positions, this investigation demonstrated that an aa conformation (normally assumed to be completely insignificant for these compounds) can be favored depending on the medium and ionization state: strong ee preferences (>90%) were observed in water and DMSO for both diacids and their salts, except for the dianion of 1 in DMSO, which was found to be substantially aa (~57%). The possibility of intramolecular hydrogen bonding (H-bonding) was also investigated; the ratios of the ionization constants (K_1/K_2) indicated an absence of intramolecular H-bonding because K_1/K_2 « 10^4 (a standard criterion for non-H-bonding in dicarboxylic acids) for both 1 and 2 in water and also for 2 in DMSO. For 1, K_1/K_2 increased drastically in DMSO (K_1/K_2 = 4 × 10^6), where ^3J_(HH) and the ratio K_1/K_E = 10, K_E being the acidity constant of the monomethyl ester of 1, indicated the formation of an intramolecular H-bond for the monoanion in this solvent. An explanation for the observation of compact dianions in solution in terms of the generalized Born equation is also provided.

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