Acceleration of Diels–Alder Reactions by Mechanical Distortion

Adam Braunschweig applies mechanical distortion to accelerate [4+2] Diels–Alder reactions.

The highlighted paper, authored by the group of Professor Adam Braunschweig at the City University of New York (USA), addresses one of the biggest challenges that has stood in the way of the ‘greening’ of organic chemistry, which is the heavy reliance of the chemical industry on solvents. According to Professor Braunschweig, organic solvents currently account for approximately 90% of chemical waste, and heating and cooling them is one of the reasons why chemical manufacturing uses ca. 37% of all manufacturing energy. He mentioned that “mechanochemical reactions, where force is used to drive the reaction under solvent-free conditions, can eliminate a substantial amount of waste and energy usage in chemical manufacturing,” and believes that mechanochemistry has the chance to completely change how organic chemistry is carried out in the next twenty years.
Here, the authors investigated the reaction kinetics of [4+2] Diels–Alder cycloaddition reactions between dienophiles and surface-confined diene monolayers to measure how force affects reaction rates.

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