Hammett correlations in the chemistry of 3-phenylpropyl radicals

James D. Modglin, Victoria K. Erdely, Ching Yeh Lin, Michelle L. Coote, James S. Poole

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7 Citations (Scopus)


The energetics and kinetics of the reaction of variously substituted benzyl radicals with a model alkene were calculated at the G3(MP2)-RAD//B3-LYP/6- 31G(d) level of theory to determine whether such reactions are amenable to Hammett analysis. The reactions were studied both in the gas phase and in toluene solution in the temperature range 298-353 K; calculations include 1D-hindered rotor corrections for low frequency torsional modes, and the solvation energies were calculated using COSMO-RS at the BP/TZP level of theory. The addition reaction was found to be dominated by radical stabilization effects, but under circumstances where olefin substituent effects were decoupled from aryl substituent effects, a modest polar effect comes into play, which is enhanced by solvation. Reasonable correlations with empirical substituent parameters such as Hammett σ and σ are observed for the enthalpy of activation, but additional entropic factors act to decrease the degree of correlation with respect to free energies and rate coefficients, confirming hypotheses from earlier experimental work. Substituent effects on the reverse β-fragmentation reaction, and potential cyclization of the 3-phenylpropyl radicals formed by addition are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14687-14696
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


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