The Redox Chemistry of 4-benzoyl-N-methylpyridinium Cations in Acetonitrile with and Without Proton Donors: The Role of Hydrogen Bonding


In anhydrous CH3CN, 4-benzoyl-N-methylpyridinium cations undergo two reversible, well-separated (ΔE1/2 0.6 V) one-electron reductions in analogy to quinones and viologens. If the solvent contains weak protic acids, such as water or alcohols, the first cyclic voltammetric wave remains unaffected while the second wave is shifted closer to the first. Both voltammetric and spectroelectrochemical evidence suggest that the positive shift of the second wave is due to hydrogen bonding between the two-electron reduced form of the ketone and the proton donors. While the one-electron reduction product is stable both in the presence and in the absence of the weak-acid proton donors, the two-electron reduction wave is reversible only in the time scale of cyclic voltammetry. Interestingly, at longer times, the hydrogen bonded adduct reacts further giving nonquaternized 4-benzoylpyridine and 4-(α-hydroxybenzyl)pyridine as the two main terminal products. In the presence of stronger acids, such as acetic acid, the second wave merges quickly with the first, producing an irreversible two-electron reduction wave. The only terminal product in this case is the quaternized 4-(α-hydroxybenzyl)-N-methylpyridinium cation. Experimental evidence points toward a common mechanism for the formation of the nonquaternized products in the presence of weaker acids and the quaternized product in the presence of CH3CO2H.




American Chemical Society
Petroleum Research Fund
University of Missouri Research Board

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Article - Journal

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© 2001 American Chemical Society (ACS), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2001