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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A kinetic study of the catalytic activation of molecular hydrogen by silver amine complexes Milne, John Buchanan


The kinetics of the reduction of silver amine complexes in aqueous solutions were investigated and found to be second order overall, the rate being proportional to silver complex and hydrogen concentrations. These systems were studied under conditions of essentially complete complexing and therefore the rates were independent of amine concentration. The rates were also shown to be independent of amine perchlorate concentration and thus of pH within a limited range. Enthalpies and entropies of activation were determined for each system and an attempt was made to correlate kinetic data with information on complex stability constants and amine basicities. The most prominent trend in the results was the inverse dependence of rate on complex stability constant. Two mechanisms are proposed both involving heterolytic cleavage of the hydrogen molecule. In the first mechanism, the proton released in the rate determining step is taken up by the basic ligand directly. In the second mechanism, a water molecule replaces the amine ligand and acts as the proton acceptor. The strength of the silver-ligand bond and the difficulty of ligand replacement by water account for the inverse dependence of rate on complex stability for each mechanism respectively. Arguments are presented to support both mechanisms. In general dibasic amine complexes activated hydrogen more readily and displayed a more negative entropy of activation than do the monoamine complexes. These observations are attributed to the presence of a free basic group in the ligand aiding the cleavage of the hydrogen molecule in the rate determining step. The proximity of the second basic group to the central silver atom also appears to be important. These effects and the possible role of the free basic group in the ligand are discussed.

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