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Kinetic Barriers of H-Atom Transfer Reactions in Alkyl, Allylic, and Oxoallylic Radicals, as Calculated by Composite Ab Initio Methods



Carrigan J. Hayes, Donald R. Burgess Jr.


Composite ab initio and density functional theory (DFT) methods were used to explore internal hydrogen-atom transfers in a variety of primary, secondary, and tertiary alkyl and functionalized radicals with implications for combustion environments. The composite ab initio method G3MP2B3 was found to achieve the most reasonable balance between accuracy and economy, in modeling the energetics of these reactions. Increased alkyl substitution reduced barriers to isomerization by about 10 kJ mol-1 and 20 kJ mol-1 for secondary and tertiary radical formation, respectively, relative to primary radical reactions, and were relatively insensitive to the transition state ring size (length of H-atom shift). Reactions involving alkenyl and alkanoyl radicals were also explored. Hydrogen atom transfers involving allylic radical formation demonstrated barrier heights (15-20) kJ mol-1 lower than in corresponding alkyl radicals while those involving oxoallylic species (alpha-site radicals of aldehydes and ketones) were (20-40) kJ mol-1 lower. These barriers were only modestly dependent (<5 kJ mol-1) upon the transition state ring size for the allylic radicals, but strongly dependent (≈20 kJ mol-1) for the oxoallylic radicals. In the cases of the alkyl radicals, enthalpies of activation were seen to scale with enthalpies of reaction. This correlation was not seen, however, in the cases of the allylic and oxoallylic radicals; this fact has significant implications in combustion chemistry and mechanism development, considering that such Evans-Polanyi correlations are widely used in estimating barrier heights for rate expressions.
Journal of Physical Chemistry A


Composite, ab initio, mechanism development, isomerizations, Evans-Polanyi


Hayes, C. and Burgess, D. (2009), Kinetic Barriers of H-Atom Transfer Reactions in Alkyl, Allylic, and Oxoallylic Radicals, as Calculated by Composite Ab Initio Methods, Journal of Physical Chemistry A, [online], (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created February 18, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017