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Why Are Addition Reactions to N2 Thermodynamically Unfavorable?

Research paper by Weston Thatcher WT Borden

Indexed on: 26 Jan '17Published on: 26 Jan '17Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry A



Abstract

Thermochemical data are used to show that, of the 89.9 kcal/mol difference between the endothermicity of H2 addition to N2 (ΔH = 47.9 kcal/mol) and the exothermicity of H2 addition to acetylene (ΔH = -42.0 kcal/mol), less than half is due to a stronger π bond in N2 than in acetylene. The other major contributor to the difference of 89.9 kcal/mol between the enthalpies of hydrogenation of N2 and acetylene is that the pair of N-H bonds that are created in the addition of H2 to N2 are significantly weaker than the pair of C-H bonds that are created in the addition of H2 to acetylene. The reasons for this large difference between the strengths of the N-H bonds in E-HN═NH and the C-H bonds in H2C═CH2 are analyzed and discussed.