Organic reactivity and through-space effects
Brown, James John
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Chapter 1 presents a mini-review of the prominent theoretical models which are employed in the prediction of the outcome of organic chemical reactions. The chapter covers the most widely used empirical and semi-empirical models, as well as some more recently developed models. Most have a common theme in that they were developed using electrophilic aromatic substitution as a model reaction. Chapter 2 describes the development of a predictive model based on the average local ionisation energy. The model is shown to be of use in predicting both the regioselectivity and relative reactivity of a wide range of molecules in electrophilic aromatic substitution reactions. An attempt is made to expand the model beyond electrophilic aromatic substitution to various other electrophilic reactions. Chapter 3 details the investigation into the predicted enhancement of reactivity of aromatic rings. Calculations of electrostatic surface potential surfaces show that the proximity of an electron rich atom to an aromatic ring increases the electron density of the ring. Analysis of the local ionisation energy surfaces of these molecules suggests that the reactivity of these rings towards electrophiles is also increased. Preliminary studies on model systems using NMR spectroscopy aim to determine whether this effect can be observed experimentally. Chapter 4 introduces a method for applying the average local ionisation energy to nucleophilic reactions. The ability of the model to predict the regiochemical outcome and relative reaction rates of various molecules is examined in a variety of reaction types, including nucleophilic aromatic substitution. Chapter 5 reports studies into the polarisation-induced cooperative effects that exist between hydrogen bonding groups. The cooperative effect has been measured quantitatively in some simple hydroxybenzene derivatives. An improved understanding of this effect, developed using small molecule models, should lead to an improved ability to predict the extent of this effect in larger systems.