Evidence that alkyl substitution provides little stabilization to radicals: the C-C bond test and the nonbonded interaction contradiction.

Research paper by Scott S Gronert

Indexed on: 26 Aug '06Published on: 26 Aug '06Published in: Journal of Organic Chemistry


Although the C-H bond dissociation energies of alkanes have been widely employed as measures of radical stability, it is shown here that the assumptions needed for that conclusion are incompatible with experimental and computational data related to C-C bond dissociation energies. Calculations at the QCISD(T)/6-311+G(d,p) level on model systems show that 1,3 nonbonded interactions in alkanes are repulsive, whereas the conventional radical stabilization analysis of bond dissociation energies requires that they become more attractive with increasing steric bulk. This result puts a severe limit on the role that radical stabilization can play and indicates that another factor must be responsible for the observed variation in the C-H bond dissociation energies of alkanes.