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Steric Effects and Solvent Effects in Ionic Reactions

Science  22 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5563, pp. 2245-2247
DOI: 10.1126/science.1068849

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Abstract

Rates of SN2 reactions of chloride ion with methyl- and tert-butyl–substituted chloroacetonitrile were measured by using Fourier transform–ion cyclotron resonance spectrometry to follow the isotopic exchange reaction. Barrier heights for these reactions indicate that steric effects in the gas phase are diminished relative to apparent steric effects in solution. We attribute the increased barrier in solution to a solvation effect. Monte Carlo simulations done using statistical perturbation theory confirm that steric hindrance to solvation contributes to SN2 barriers in solution.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: brauman{at}stanford.edu

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