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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A kinetic study of the termination and decomposition reactions of the cyclohexadienyl radical in the gas phase Suart, Robert David


The photolysis of azomethane, di-isopropyl ketone and azoisobutane has been examined briefly in the gas phase and these compounds have been found to be convenient sources of the methyl, isopropyl and tert-butyl radicals respectively. The photolysis of the mixed vapours of cyclohexadiene-1,4 with each of azomethane, di-isopropyl ketone and azoisobutane has been examined over a series of temperatures. These studies afforded the Arrhenius parameters for the abstraction of the methylenic hydrogen atom from cyclohexadiene-1,4 by the methyl, isopropyl and tert-butyl radicals. There was found no significant difference in the reactivities of these radicals towards the cyclohexadiene-1,4 substrate. The rate constants measured were [formula omitted]. The cyclohexadienyl radical is generated in this metathetical reaction, and the interaction of the cyclohexadienyl radical with the various mentioned initiator radicals was examined kinetically. It was found that the interaction of alkyl radicals with the cyclohexadienyl radical produced either benzene and the hydrocarbon, RH, (disproportionation) or 1-alkylcyclohexadiene-2,4 (combination, I) or 1-alkylcyclohexadiene-2,5 (combination, II). The ratio of the rates of formation of the two combination products (I/II) has been found to have the constant value 0.77 ± 0.17 within the experimental error for all the alkyl radicals studied. The ratio of the rate of disproportionation to the combined rates of combination was found to vary systematically over the values 0.27 ± 0.07, 0.52 ± 0.09, and 1.33 ± 0.24 for the methyl, isopropyl and tert-butyl radicals respectively. A previous study of the ethyl radical's reactions with the cyclohexadienyl radical in this laboratory had shown that this ratio for the ethyl radical was 0.38 ± 0.03. The measured values of the termination rate ratios for the various systems are consistent with the expectation that the product of greater entropy should form preferrentially and the results are considered to support the disproportionation transition state model of Bradley and Rabinovitch. During the photolysis of azomethane-cyclohexadiene-1,4 mixtures at lower intensisties, there was observed the formation of cyclohexene and greater than the expected amount of benzene. This was considered to arise from the decomposition reaction C₆H₇→C₆H₆ + H˙. Kinetic analysis of this system has afforded an estimate of the heat of formation of the cyclohexadienyl radical, (45 ± 5 kcal./mole), and consequently of its resonance energy, (24 ± 5 kcal./mole). This has been considered to be evidence that there is an interaction of the delocalized system across the methylenic carbon bridge, since the resonance energy is substantially greater than that measured in another laboratory for the straight chain pentadienyl radical (15.5 kcal./mole). The reactions of the isopropyl radical with the cyclohexadiene-1,3 molecule have been studied in the gas phase. The isopropyl radical adds to the unsaturated linkages with a rate constant [formula omitted]. The abstraction of a methylenic hydrogen atom procedes with a rate governed by the rate constant [formula omitted]. Thus the metathetical reaction procedes more slowly for the conjugated cyclohexadiene than for the unconjugated system by a factor of 1.9 at 100°. This behavior was also found for the reactions of the ethyl radical with the cyclohexadiene isomers in a previous study, and probably arises from a slightly lower free energy of the cyclohexadiene-1,3 molecule. The ratio of addition to abstraction between isopropyl and cyclohexadiene-1,3 is low, (4.3 at 100°) and degradative chain transfer has been suggested as the reason for the very low tendency of the cyclohexadiene-1,3 molecule to polymerize under homogeneous, free radical conditions.

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