Rate constants for reactions of alkyl radicals with water and methanol complexes of triethylborane

J Org Chem. 2007 Jul 6;72(14):5098-103. doi: 10.1021/jo070336s. Epub 2007 Jun 19.


Reactions of secondary alkyl radicals with triethylborane and several of its complexes were studied. The H-atom transfer reactions from Et3B-OH2 and Et3B-OD2 were suppressed by addition of pyridine to the reaction mixture. Rate constants for reactions of secondary alkyl radicals with triethylborane and its complexes with water, deuterium oxide, methanol, and THF at ambient temperature were determined by radical clock methods. Cyclization of the 1-undecyl-5-hexenyl radical and ring opening of the 1-cyclobutyldodecyl radical were evaluated as clock reactions. The cyclobutylcarbinyl radical ring opening had the appropriate velocity for relatively precise determinations of the ratios of rate constants for H-atom transfer trapping and rearrangement, and these ratios combined with an estimated rate constant for the cyclobutylcarbinyl radical ring opening gave absolute values for the rate constants for the H-atom transfer reactions. For example, the triethylborane-water complex reacts with a secondary alkyl radical in benzene at 20 degrees C with a rate constant of 2 x 10(4) M(-1) s(-1). Variable temperature studies with the Et3B-CH3OH complex in toluene indicate that the hydrogen atom transfer reaction has unusually high entropic demand, which results in substantially more efficient hydrogen atom transfer trapping reactions in competition with radical ring opening and cyclization reactions at reduced temperatures.