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Keywords:

  • Dimethyl sulfoxide;
  • Solvents

Abstract

The dipolar aprotic solvent dimethyl sulfoxide is liquid over a wide range of temperatures, is a strong electron donor, and has a high polarity. It is therefore an excellent and selective solvent for many organic and even polymeric compounds, and can enter into H-bonding and dipole-dipole association. The structure of dimethyl sulfoxide, with a “hard” oxygen atom and a “soft” sulfur atom, leads to good solvation of cations and poor solvation of anions. Mixtures of alkoxides with dimethyl sulfoxide are therefore among the most strongly basic systems in organic chemistry, and are excellently suited for the deprotonation of weakly acidic OH, NH, and CH bonds, for eliminations, and for the initiation of polymerizations.