Structural and solvent control over activation parameters for a pair of retro Diels-Alder reactions

Andrea L. Widstrom, Benjamin J. Lear

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9 Scopus citations


We report the temperature dependent NMR of two Diels-Alder adducts of furan: one formed with maleic anhydride and the other with N-methylmaleimide. These adducts are the products of so-called ‘click’ reactions, widely valued for providing simple, reliable, and robust reactivity. Under our experimental conditions, these adducts undergo a retro Diels-Alder reaction and we use our temperature dependent NMR to determine the rates of these reactions at multiple temperatures—ultimately providing estimates of the activation parameters for the reversion. We repeat these measurements in three solvents. We find that, in all solvents, the barrier to reversion is larger for the adduct formed with N-methylmaleimide. The barrier to reversion for this adduct is relatively insensitive to changes in solvent while the adduct formed with maleic anhydride responds more strongly to changes in solvent polarity. The differences in reaction barrier and solvent dependence arises because the adduct formed with N-methylmalemide is more stable—leading to a larger barrier to reversion—while the adduct formed with maleic anhydride experiences a larger change in dipole during the reaction—leading to a larger solvent dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18267
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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