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Keywords:

  • McMurry reactions;
  • pinacol derivatives;
  • reductive couplings;
  • uranium compounds
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

New aspects of the mechanism of the McMurry reaction were revealed by studying the coupling of acetone with uranium tetrachloride and lithium or sodium amalgam. The two metallopinacolate intermediates 1 and 2 were isolated. Only the cyclic complex 2, formed by reaction of 1 with the reducing agent, was transformed, under more forcing conditions, into tetramethylethylene. Counterion: Li+.