Evaluation of C-4 diphosphine ligands in rhodium catalysed methanol carbonylation under a syngas atmosphere: synthesis, structure, stability and reactivity of rhodium(I) carbonyl and rhodium(III) acetyl intermediates

Gareth Lamb, Matthew Clarke, Alexandra M. Z. Slawin, Bruce Williams, Lesley Key

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The carbonylation of methanol to acetic acid is a hugely important catalytic process, and there are considerable cost and environmental advantages if a process could be designed that was tolerant of hydrogen impurities in the CO feed gas, while eliminating by-products such as propionic acid and acetaldehyde altogether. This paper reports on an investigation into the application of rhodium complexes of several C-4 bridged diphosphines, namely BINAP, 1,4-bis( diphenylphosphino) butane (dppb), bis(diphenylphosphino) xylene (dppx) and 1,4-bis( dicyclohexylphosphino) butane (dcpb) as catalysts for hydrogen tolerant methanol carbonylation. An investigation into the structure, reactivity and stability of pre-catalysts and catalyst resting states of these complexes has also been carried out in order to understand the observations in catalysis. Rh(I) carbonyl halide complexes of each of the ligands have been prepared from both [Rh-2(CO)(4)Cl-2] and dimeric mu-Cl-[Rh(L)Cl](2) complexes. These Rh(I) carbonyl complexes are either dimeric with bridging phosphine ligands (dppb, dcpb, dppx) or monomeric chelate complexes. The reaction of the complexes with methyl iodide at 140. C has been studied, which has revealed clear differences in the stability of the corresponding Rh(III) complexes. Surprisingly, the dimeric Rh(I) carbonyls react cleanly with MeI with rearrangement of the diphosphine to a chelate co-ordination mode to give stable Rh(III) acetyl complexes. The Rh acetyls for L = dppb and dppx have been fully characterised by X-ray crystallography. During the catalytic studies, the more rigid dppx and BINAP ligands were found to be nearly 5 times more hydrogen tolerant than [Rh(CO)(2)I-2](-), as revealed by by-product analysis. The origin of this hydrogen tolerance is explained based on the differing reactivities of the Rh acetyls with hydrogen gas, and by considering the structure of the complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5582-5589
Number of pages8
JournalDalton Transactions
Issue number47
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • REDUCTIVE CARBONYLATION
  • TERTIARY PHOSPHINES
  • MOLECULAR-STRUCTURE
  • COMPLEXES
  • ACID
  • PRECURSOR
  • EFFICIENT
  • CRYSTAL
  • IRIDIUM

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