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Reactions With Benzene

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A general overview of the different reactions Benzene can undergo. I do not have the substitutent effects for the EAS reactions so. I will upload a general document that has a summery of all the substituent effects for reactions that are affected by them.Hope this helps!

Reactions With Substituent EffectsElectrophilic Aromatic Substitutions

In an EAS reaction, an electrophile reacts with an aromatic ring and substitutes it for one hydrogen. General Mechanism

There are five types of EAS reactions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Halogenation Nitration Sulfonation Friedel-Crafts Alkylation Friedel-Crafts Acylation

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1. Halogenation Reagents are X2 and FeX3 (catalyst) where X is a halogen (generally Cl or Br) a. Generation of electrophile in which the FeX3 induces a dipole causing one atom to become partially positive (electrophile) and one partially negative. The partially positive will react with the benzene ring, while the partially negative will join with the catalyst to form a new ion.

b. Reaction of electrophile with benzene

2. Nitration Reagents are HNO3 and H2SO4 with the electrophile being NO2+ a. Generation of electrophile in which the HNO3 acts like a base and accepts a proton from sulfuric acid to generate the conjugate acid of nitric acid which then releases a molecule of H2O to generate the electrophile NO2+

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b. Reaction of electrophile with benzene

3. Sulfonation1 Reagents are SO3 and H2SO4 (fuming sulfuric acid) with the electrophile being HSO3+ a. Generation of electrophile in which the SO3 acts like a base and accepts a proton from H2SO4 to generate a conjugate acid, which has a formal charge on the oxygen. The conjugate acid then rearranges in to give sulfur the formal charge and therefore forming the electrophile for the reaction

b. Reaction of electrophile with benzene


Reaction can be reversible depending on the [fuming sulfuric acid]. High [FSA] forward sulfonation producing benzene sulfonic acid. Dilute [FSA] reverse desulfonation reaction to produce benzene

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4. Friedel-Crafts Alkylation Reagents vary, as there are three ways to produce the electrophilea carbocation; the overall reaction remains the same. Because this requires the formation of carbocation, rearrangements are always possible. 1. R-X and AlX3 where X is either Br or Cl a. Generation of electrophile using an alkyl halide


Alkyl halide may be 1, 2, or 3 and so there are varying degrees of stability (3 > 2 > 1 > CH3) and therefore with 1 and 2 alkyl halides, rearrangements (1,2 hydride shift or 1,2 methyl shift) may occur - May occur of a more stable C(+) can be generated from original - Sometimes when an equally stable C(+) can be generated - No arrangement occur if C(+) is less stable than original

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Example when rearrangement may occur

Example when rearrangement is less likely to occur

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2. R-OH and H+ Acid (phosphoric, sulfuric, acetic) whose conjugate base are not strong Nu: because they are able to delocalize their charge and so not as strong to compete with the carbocation. a. Generation of electrophile using an alcohol in which the oxygen of the alcohol acts as a base and accepts a proton from an acid, forming an intermediate, which then looses a water molecule

3. Alkene, H+ a. Generation of electrophile using an alkene in which the alkene donates its pi electrons to an acid in order to generate a carbocation


Aromatic (aryl) halides and vinylic halides do not react because the carbocations are too high in energy (too stable) to form and react


Doesnt succeed on aromatic rings that are substituted either by a strongly electronwithdrawing group (such as carbonyl C=O) or by an amino group (-NH2, NHR, -NR2)

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It is often difficult to stop the reaction after a single substitution (creates an activator group) and therefore polyalkylation usually occursas happened in the laboratory

5. Friedel-Crafts Acylation Reagents are an acyl halide (R-C=O-X) and AlX3 in which the electrophile is R-C=O+ a. Generation of the electrophile in which the AlX3 induces a dipole, causing the halide of the acyl halide to become partially negative and the acyl group to become positive. The halide will the aluminum halide catalyst to form a new ion (AlX4+) and the positive acyl group will react with the benzene ring.

b. Reaction with the benzene ring


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Electrophilic Addition of Styrenes

Electrophilic Addition ReactionsAlkenes or alkynes bond and electrophile ( bond of benzene ring do not react). The reaction of Styrenes include the reaction of the vinyl group of the benzene ring. Run under kinetic conditions, like all electrophilic addition reactants Reagents: H3O+ (H++ H2O), HX, or X2 General Mechanism


Substituent Effects of Styrenes

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Base-Catalyzed Hydrolysis of Benzoate Esters Can occur through either a reaction with

Reagents: NaOH (OH-), H2O Produces a carboxylic acid and an alcohol

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Substituent Effects

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Reactions Without Substituent EffectsNucleophilic Aromatic Substitution Benzene ring must have two substituents with characteristics: 1. One must be an EWG by resonance 2. One must be a leaving group (usually halogen) that is ortho- or para- to the EWG by resonance

Reagent: CH3O- Na+ (nucleophile) General Mechanism

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Benzyne Reaction Two criteria associated with Benzene ring 1. Must have a leaving group (usually a fluorine or other halogen) 2. Hydrogen on carbon ortho- to carbon with leaving group

Reagents: Strong base and Electrophilic Reagent Strong Base NaNH2 (Sodimamide) NH2NaOH (OH-) Electrophilic Reagent HBr (hydrohalous acid) X2 H3O+

Lithium di-isopropyl amide (LDA)

Sodium t-butoxide (other alkoxide that are sterically hindered produced by alcohols) NaH (Sodium hydride) H--


General Mechanism


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Three possible products (ortho, meta, and para) but meta is major due to it being produced two times in the reaction

Oxidation of Substituents on Benzene Rings Oxidation refers to specific atoms (C,N,S) within molecule - Decrease in the bonds to H and/or increase bonds to O

Two types of oxidations of benzylic atoms 1. KMnO4

2. NBS, hv

KMnO4 Oxidation is the oxidation of benzylic atom that requires to presence of at least one H atom



It is a strong oxidizer but does not oxidize alkene/alkynes to produce diols

bonds of benzene rings but will oxidize


NBS Oxidation is the oxidation of benzylic/allylic carbons with at least one H atom. It is a radical reaction that produces benzylic/allylic bromide Radical Reaction has three steps 1. Initiation-formation of 1st radical species of a reaction 2. Propagation-reaction of a radical with a nonradical/neutral species to produce a nonracial and radical; This is the rate determining step 3. Termination-reaction of two radicals to produce a neutral species


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Reaction Energy Diagram

Stability of carbocation radicals 1 allylic 1 benzylic 2 allylic > 2 benzylic BUT There is no difference between the 1, 2, or 3 end molecule result

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Kinetic Reaction (under kinetic conditions) Major Productforms the fastestderived from the most stable reaction intermediate formed during the rate determining step (low G ) Therefore the 2 allylic bromide is the major kinetic product (the most stable reaction intermediate)

Thermodynamic Reaction (under thermodynamic conditions) Major Productmost stable product, regardless of stability of the reaction intermediate Therefore, the 1 allylic bromide is the major thermodynamic product because it is a disubstituted alkene

Reduction of Substituents on Benzene Rings Reduction is the increase in the number of bonds with H and/or decrease in the number of bonds with O

Three types of reduction 1. Catalytic Hydrogenation Reagents: H2(g) and heterogeneous catalyst (Pt or Pd)


2. Clemenson Reduction (Acidic conditions) Reagents: Zn, HCl or Sn, HCl

3. Wolf-Kishner (Basic conditions) Reagents: Hydrozine (H2N-NH2) and KOH

Why three different reagents to accomplish the same conversion? 1. Catalytic hydrogenation a. Reduces benzylic carbonyl and nitro groups b. Reduces alkenes and alkynes 2. Clemenson Reduction a. Reduces benzylic carbonyl and nitro groups b. HCl can react with alkenes and alkynes in electrophilic addition 3. Wolf-Kishner a. Reduces benzylic carbonyl and nitro groups b. KOH can induce hydrolysis (base-catalyzed) of esters



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