Flash vacuum pyrolysis over magnesium. Part 1. Pyrolysis of benzylic, other aryl/alkyl and aliphatic halides

Robert Alan Aitken, PK Hodgson, John James Morrison, AO Oyewale

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Flash vacuum pyrolysis over a bed of freshly sublimed magnesium on glass wool results in efficient coupling of benzyl halides to give the corresponding bibenzyls. Where an ortho halogen substituent is present further dehalogenation gives some dihydroanthracene and anthracene. Efficient coupling is also observed for halomethylnaphthalenes and halodiphenylmethanes while chlorotriphenylmethane gives 4,4'-bis(diphenylmethyl) biphenyl. By using, alpha,alpha'-dihalo-o-xylenes, benzocyclobutenes are obtained in good yield, while the isomeric, alpha,alpha'-dihalo-p-xylenes give a range of high thermal stability polymers by polymerisation of the initially formed p-xylylenes. Other haloalkylbenzenes undergo largely dehydrohalogenation where this is possible, in some cases resulting in cyclisation. Deoxygenation is also observed with haloalkyl phenyl ketones to give phenylalkynes as well as other products. With simple alkyl halides there is efficient elimination of HCl or HBr to give alkenes. For aliphatic dihalides this also occurs to give dienes but there is also cyclisation to give cycloalkanes and dehalogenation with hydrogen atom transfer to give alkenes in some cases. For 5-bromopent-1-ene the products are those expected from a radical pathway but for 6-bromohex-1-ene they are clearly not. For 2,2-dichloropropane and 1,1-dichloropropane elimination of HCl occurs but for 1,1-dichlorobutane, -pentane and -hexane partial hydrolysis followed by elimination of HCl gives E,E-, E,Z- and Z,Z-isomers of the dialk-1-enyl ethers and fully assigned C-13 NMR data are presented for these. With 6-chlorohex-1-yne and 7-chlorohept-1-yne there is cyclisation to give methylenecycloalkanes and -cycloalkynes. The behaviour of 1,2-dibromocyclohexane and 1,2-dichlorocyclooctane under these conditions is also examined. Various pieces of evidence are presented that suggest that these processes do not involve generation of free gas-phase radicals but rather surface-adsorbed organometallic species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-415
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Chemical Society, Perkin Transactions 1
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002




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