Kinetics of glycoluril template-directed Claisen condensations and mechanistic implications Academic Article uri icon

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  • Eight N-acetyl-N-aroyl-glycolurils were prepared and found to undergo efficient tert-butoxide-promoted Claisen-like condensation between the two acyl moieties. The kinetics for formation of each of the N-(aroylacetyl)gly coluril products were monitored by UV spectroscopy. The reaction exhibited pseudo-first-order kinetics in substrate in the presence of excess base. For the parent benzoyl compound the observed first-order rate constant (kobs) was linearly dependent on the concentration of the base, tert-butoxide. A Hammett plot of the resulting apparent second-order rate constants (kapp) vs. σ for each of the eight aroyl derivatives was linear and had a positive ρ value 1.04 ± 0.04), demonstrating that the substituent on the aromatic ring exerts a significant effect upon the condensation reaction. The corresponding plot for three [D3]acetyl analogues was also linear, but the slope was reduced by 20% relative to the protonated compounds. The isotope effect (kHapp/kDapp) thus increased from 1.4 (benzoyl) to 2.6 (p-nitrobenzoyl). The results are consistent with a three-step mechanism in which both deprotonation of the acetyl entity and the ensuing nucleophilic attack of the resulting enolate on the benzoyl group are partially rate-determining steps. The tetrahedral intermediate thus produced rapidly collapses to the product. For the [D3]acetyl benzoyl derivative, exchange of substrate deuterium with solvent hydrogen due to reprotonation of the enolate intermediate occurs at a rate that is similar to that of condensation, but the enolate partitions towards the product when electron withdrawing groups are present in the aroyl ring. Thus, despite the presence of a large excess of co-solvent tert-butanol, the efficiency with which the enolate undergoes condensation remains high. The clean kinetics observed allows further exploration of the details of this intramolecular Claisen-like condensation process.Key words: Claisen condensation, glycoluril, kinetics, Hammett, mechanism.


  • Rahimizadeh, Mohammad
  • Kam, Karen
  • Jenkins, Stephen I
  • McDonald, Robert S
  • Harrison, Paul

publication date

  • May 1, 2002