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Homogeneous catalysis. Nickel-catalyed isomerization of hept-3-ene and Grignard Cross-Coupling

Homogeneous Catalysis
Nickel-catalyzed isomerization of hept-3-ene.1
Transition metal-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions.2,3
In the first part of this experiment you will synthesize a nickel phosphite complex,
tetrakis(triethylphosphite)nickel(0), that is a precatalyst for the isomerization of alkenes. The
catalytic reaction is homogeneous and the active catalyst is prepared via protonation of the
phosphite complex with H2SO4 in the presence of the substrate hept-1-ene. You will then
monitor the isomerization of heptene by Gas Chromatography, under a variety of conditions. To
further probe the mechanism of this reaction you will protonate the nickel complex with
trifluoroacetic acid in an NMR tube and attempt to detect the hydride ligand.
The second part of this experiment involves a nickel-catalyzed coupling reaction
between an aryl Grignard and an alkyl halide, commonly known as the Kumada coupling
(Grignard cross-coupling). This reaction is one of a general class of reactions called crosscoupling reactions, and in this case you will synthesize an alkylthiophene, a common precursor
for organic electronic materials.
Both of these reactions introduce you to homogeneous catalysis and each involves a
simple mechanism of a transition-metal catalyzed process.
Homogeneous catalytic reactions are those in which both the substrate and the catalyst are in
the same phase, and although there are common examples of such processes in organic
chemistry (e.g. acid catalysis), this experiment introduces transition-metal-catalyzed reactions.
Transition-metal based homogeneous catalysts are often inorganic or organometallic
compounds that can coordinate to the substrate and induce some change through bond forming
or breaking reactions. In many cases the active catalyst is a coordinatively unsaturated species
(often 16-electron) that is generated from a more stable precatalyst by loss of a ligand. Common
steps in a catalytic cycle are coordination, oxidative addition, insertion, elimination, reductive
elimination and decomplexation reactions. Many types of reactions now have efficient transitionmetal based catalysts, for example hydrogenation, carbonylation, polymerization, and oxidation
to name a few. In the first part of this experiment you will investigate alkene isomerization
catalysed by a nickel complex. Alkene isomerizations have a number of commercial applications
one of the most important being the Shell SHOP process, which produces linear biodegradable
C11–C15 fatty alcohols for detergents.
The Nickel precatalyst used in the first part of this experiment [Ni{P(OEt)3}4] (1) is a
tetrahedral d10 complex. It can be prepared by reduction of octahedral green nickel (II) with
excess phosphite in the presence of diethylamine as shown below.
2 6H2O + 5P(OEt)3 + 2HNEt2
Ni{P(OEt)3}4 (1) + 2(H2NEt2)Cl
+ (EtO)3PO + 5H2O
Q1. Why is the Ni(II) complex green yet the product is white?
The precatalyst is protonated to give the active catalyst [HNi{P(OEt)3}4]+ which catalyzes the
isomerization of the substrate 1-heptene to an equilibrium mixture of 1-, 2- and 3-heptenes
(1:20:78 ratio).
Ni{P(OEt)3}4 (1) + H2SO4 [HNi{P(OEt)3}4]+ HSO4-
The mechanism of the isomerization is shown in the scheme below and involves the following
steps: (a) reversible dissociation of a phosphite ligand; (b) addition (coordination) of the olefin;
(c) insertion of the olefin into the metal-hydride; (d) beta-hydrogen elimination; (e)
dissociation (decomplexation) of the isomerized olefin. All of these steps are reversible,
however the reaction will proceed until an equilibrium mixture of the olefin isomers is formed.
Q2. The scheme shows the formation of 2-heptene, draw a scheme that would account for the
formation of 3-heptene (you can hand-draw the scheme)
Q3. Give an electron count and oxidation state at the Ni center for all the nickel species
shown in the cycle (no need to redraw the cycle)
Catalyst Turnover Frequency (TOF)
TOF is the ratio of moles of product to moles of catalyst over time and gives the efficiency of
the catalyst. Or, put another way, using the reaction in this experiment as an example, TOF
indicates how many times a single nickel center catalyzes the isomerization of either hept-1-
ene to hept-2-ene, or hept-2-ene to hept-3-ene per unit time (usually hr-1).
If [P] is the concentration of product, and [B] is catalyst then
TOF = d[P]/dt
Using the data from the GC that you collected, TOF can be estimated. Note that the mmol of
hept-3-ene must be multiplied by 2 because it takes 2 catalyst cycles to produce one hept-3-
ene molecule.
Experimental Procedures
One of you should prepare compound 1, the other compound 2
Session 1a Preparation of tetrakis(triethylphosphite)nickel(0) [Ni{P(OEt)3}4] 1.
2 6H2O + 5P(OEt)3 + 2HNEt2
Ni{P(OEt)3}4 (1) + 2(H2NEt2)Cl
+ (EtO)3PO + 5H2O
NOTE: triethylphosphite and diethylamine are extremely noxious (these compounds
stink!), all waste including syringes and needles from this experiment must be placed
in the appropriate waste containers in the hood. ABSOLUTELY ALL ASPECTS OF THIS
Preparation of tetrakis(triethylphosphite)nickel(0) [Ni{P(OEt)3}4] 1
Weigh 2.6 g (11 mmol) of NiCl2.6H2O and place it in a 100 mL Erlenmeyer flask containing a
stir bar. Add 50 mL of methanol and stir for 5 minutes to dissolve the nickel (II) chloride. Cool
the emerald green solution in an ice bath and carefully add 9.4 mL (9.1 g, 55 mmol) of
triethylphosphite over a 2 minute period via syringe. The solution should turn blood red. After
stirring for 5 minutes, carefully add diethylamine dropwise via syringe (2.5 mL, 1.8 g, 24
mmol). After half the amine has been added a white precipitate of product should begin to
form. Continue the addition very slowly until the deep red solution just begins to fade (addition
of too much amine will result in a light green impurity, it is better to sacrifice yield and obtain
pure product by stopping the addition of amine early). Stir for a further 10 minutes in the ice
bath and then filter off the white precipitate in air and wash with 3 x 10 mL portions of ice cold
methanol. Transfer the white solid using a powder funnel to a pre-weighed dry Schlenk flask
and dry under high vacuum for at least 30 minutes or until no significant weight loss occurs,
then calculate the % yield. The product, [Ni{P(OEt)3}4] 1, is sensitive and it must be stored
under nitrogen away from sunlight between lab periods. Measure the IR spectrum as a KBr
pellet and set aside at least 50 mg of product under nitrogen in a vial for a protonation study
with CF3COOH in the dry box. The 1H, 13C and 31P NMR spectra of compound 1 are provided
(Figures B4-6). These should ALL be assigned and compared to those of the protonated
species (see below) and of free triethylphosphite (Figures B1-B3).
Q4. What is the red-colored intermediate in the reaction ?
Protonation of 1 with trifluoroacetic acid.
NOTE: arrange with the NMR staff to run this sample as soon as it has been prepared.
The NMR sample should be prepared in the dry box in CDCl3 in a vial. Transfer the solution to
the NMR tube and carefully add one drop of CF3COOH to the tube and place the cap on the
tube. Measure the 1H and 31P NMR spectra of this sample immediately, be sure that the 1H
NMR spectrum is measured from – 20 p.p.m. to + 20 p.p.m. Assign as many peaks as you
can, it is often a mixture.
Q5. What is the structure of the cation formed by protonation of 1.
Q6. Calculate the 2J HP coupling constant.
Session 1b. Preparation of dichloro{bis(diphenylphosphino)propane}nickel(II),
Ni(dppp)Cl2 2.
Ø To 1.2 g (5.0 mmol) NiCl2•6H2O in an Erlenmeyer flask, add enough 5:2 (v/v) 2-
propanol:methanol to make a 0.2 M solution ( ______ mL). Heat the mixture on a hot
plate to just below boiling.
Ø In a separate vessel, prepare a solution of 0.90 equiv. bis(diphenylphosphino)propane
(dppp; 1.86 g) in just enough 2-propanol to get almost all of the phosphine into solution
(keep the mixture hot on the hot plate during this process).
Ø Add the hot phosphine solution dropwise to the NiCl2•6 H2O solution while stirring. Allow
to stir, heated, for thirty minutes, then
Ø Cool the reaction mixture to room temperature,
Ø Filter the precipitate, and wash the product several times with small portions of methanol.
Ø Remove all residual solvent under high vacuum (50 °C, 30 min). Characterize the product
by IR spectroscopy and take a melting point (once completely free of solvent).
Ø Determine the percent yield for the Ni catalyst and save it for the Kumada cross-coupling
during the final period of these experiments and for the GRIM polymerization later in the
Session 2. Grignard Cross-Coupling (Kumada Coupling). Synthesis of 3-
+ AlkMgBr
Ni cat
Right at the beginning of the session place a 250 mL 2-neck Schlenk flask, a reflux
condenser, and an addition funnel into the oven. Weigh out magnesium (1.94 g, 0.080 mol)
using a weighing paper or weighing boat. Take the 2-neck flask out of the oven while it is still
hot, add the Mg filings and an egg-shaped stir bar, and then place the addition funnel in the
center and the reflux condenser on one of the sides (remember to grease the joints!). Close
off the joints with 24/40 septa, evacuate the assembly on the vacuum line and backfill with
nitrogen. Add anhydrous THF (100 mL, provided by the TA) via a cannula through the
septum. Under nitrogen flow, switch the rubber septum on the top of the condenser for a Tshape connector that is attached to the vacuum line. Close the stopcock on the addition
funnel and add the specific alkyl bromide that has been provided (___ g, __ mL, 0.080 mol)
through the septum. Add the alkyl bromide dropwise to the Mg suspension while refluxing the
mixture until all (or almost all) of the Mg has reacted (ca. 1-2 h; make sure the side-arm
stopcock is closed !). Let the mixture cool to room temperature and then place it in an ice
bath while continuing to stir. Remove the addition funnel and add 1,3-bis(diphenylphosphino)-
propane nickel(II) chloride synthesized during the earlier session (Ni(dppp)Cl2, 0.33 g, 0.61
mmol) under a flow of nitrogen. Close the joint with a septum and then add 3-
bromothiophene (10.0 g, 0.061 mol) dropwise by syringe to the solution at 0 °C (ice bath).
Allow the reaction to proceed under nitrogen at room temperature until the next period.
Q7. Draw a catalytic cycle using the exact components of your reaction.
Q8. The 2010 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded for the discovery of a series of closely
related reactions (Kumada had already passed away). Who were the awardees and how do
their discoveries differ from Kumada’s?
Session 3. Isolation of 3-Alkylthiophene
Quench the reaction mixture from the last period by addition of 5 mL of a 1 M HCl solution,
dilute with a small amount of water, extract with ether using a separatory funnel, and wash
with water. Collect the organic phase, dry over MgSO4, filter under vacuum using a Buchner
funnel and then remove the solvent using a rotary evaporator. Perform a (quick) fractional
distillation under high vacuum at elevated temperature (use a heat gun; record the boiling
point). Weigh the product into a vial, acquire 1H, 13C NMR and GC-MS data. Save the sample
and give it to the TA for bromination. The product of bromination will be used ina GRIM
polymerization in Expt. D. Compare the 1H and 13C NMR of 3-bromothiophene (see Supp.
Mat.). If you have time (at least 2 hours) you may start session 4.
Session 4. Catalytic Isomerization of 1-heptene by a nickel hydride complex.
Set up all the apparatus before initiating the reaction, you will be required to extract samples
every 2 minutes initially and transfer them to test tubes, if you are not set and ready you will
miss an extraction and have to start over. This reaction is air sensitive, the catalyst is
pale yellow when active, if the solution goes colorless the catalyst has likely been
exposed to air.
RUN 1. Add 71 mg of the nickel complex 1 to a 100 mL Schlenk flask equipped with a stir bar
and evacuate and refill the flask with nitrogen three times on the Schlenk line. Add 30 mL of
diethyl ether by syringe through the septum and immediately purge the solution gently with
nitrogen, do not purge too vigorously or the ether solvent will completely evaporate. After 5
minutes purge remove the needle and seal the flask under a positive pressure of nitrogen.
Using a 1 mL syringe, add 0.30 mL of hept-1-ene to the flask and then extract a 1.0 mL
sample for GC analysis (inject a 1 microliter sample into the GC, this may be automated), this
will be time zero GC. Get the timer ready (practice using it first!). Now add 1.0 mL of 0.1 M
H2SO4 in methanol via syringe to initiate the isomerization and start the timer. Make careful
observations and extract 1.5 mL samples at 5, 10, 20, 40 and 60 mins. These samples
should be syringed into test tubes and shaken in air immediately to quench the reaction.
Measure the GC of each sample starting with the last that was extracted, if the reaction has
failed the last sample will show no isomerization and you must repeat the reaction. If the
reaction shows some progress continue to monitor the reaction at 30 minute intervals up to
180 minutes.
RUN 2. If your reaction above proceeded very quickly (finished within less than 60 minutes),
in a clean dry flask, repeat the conditions in run 1 but at 0 ˚C in an ice bath and extract
samples at 10, 20, 30 and 45 minutes. Measure the GC of the last sample first but do not
stop the timer or wash the flask yet, if the reaction is not complete continue measurements
every 20 minutes up to 180 mins if needed. Calculate the TOF at the fastest part of the
reaction from your GC data.
Analysis of the GC data: The relative amounts of each of the isomers can be determined
from the areas under the peaks in the GC. Plot a graph of mol % heptenes vs. time for each
of the runs and calculate the TOF at the fastest part of each run from your GC data.
Q9. Discuss how you would expect addition of 10 mol% triethylphosphite affect the nickelcatalyzed isomerization reaction.
Literature Cited
1. “Simple Synthesis and Use of a Nickel Alkene Isomerization Catalyst”; Kurt R. Birdwhistell and
Joann Lanza, J. Chem. Educ., 1997, 74, 581.
2. Tamao, K.; Kodama, S.; Nakajima, I; Kumada, M. Tetrahedron 1982, 38, 3347.
3. Ted M. Pappenfus, David L. Hermanson, Stuart G. Kohl, Jacob H. Melby, Laura M. Thoma, and
Nancy E. Carpenter, Demetrio A. da Silva Filho and Jean-Luc Bredas J. Chem. Educ. 2010, 87,
JBS 03/01/2011 – edited JBS 03/4/2014


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