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Acid-catalyzed nucleophilic additions to carbonyl groups: is the accepted mechanism the rule or an exception?

Authors
  • Reyes, Lino
  • Nicolás-Vázquez, Inés
  • Mora-Diez, Nelaine
  • Alvarez-Idaboy, J Raul
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of Organic Chemistry
Publisher
American Chemical Society
Publication Date
Mar 15, 2013
Volume
78
Issue
6
Pages
2327–2335
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1021/jo302390r
PMID: 23419137
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The transesterification reaction, and in particular the methanolysis of ethyl acetate with sulfuric acid as catalyst, is used as a model reaction to study the acid-catalyzed nucleophilic addition to a carbonyl group. Continuum solvation methods (SMD and IEF-PCM) and the MPWB1K functional are used. The reaction mechanism is studied in methanol and in acetonitrile as solvents. Our results indicate that the acid-catalyzed addition mechanism is stepwise, and the transition state (TS) is a contact ion-pair. The counteranion of the acid catalyst remains in the reaction site playing an important role in the TS of this reaction. Changes in the reaction kinetics and the ionic/nonionic nature of the TS with the ionizing ability of the solvent and the strength of the acid catalyst are explored. Additional calculations at the CBS-Q3 level of theory reinforce the conclusions of this paper. The results obtained allow the generalization of important ideas regarding the mechanism of the nucleophilic addition to carbonyl groups.

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