The influence of some steric and electron effects on the mechanism of aromatic nucleophilic substitution (SNAr) reactions in nonpolar solvent



Kinetic studies are reported for the reactions with aniline in benzene of a series of X-phenyl 2,4,6-trinitrophenyl ethers [X = H; 2-, 3-, 4-CH3; 2,4-, or 2,6-(CH3)2] a–f, and the results compared with those of the corresponding nitro derivatives. In the methyl series, kinetic data show that increasing substitution reduces drastically the rates of reactions indicative of the operation of some kind of steric effect. The unfavorable steric congestion at the reaction center appears to be unimportant in determining the kinetic order of the reactions. In general, the second-order rate constants kA depend linearly on the square of nucleophile concentration. The change in the kinetic form observed in the nitro derivatives may be largely due to the electron-withdrawing effect of the group. With the 2,6-dinitro derivative, however, the uncatalyzed pathway k2 takes all the reaction flux. Steric hindrance to intermolecular proton transfer from base to the ethereal oxygen of the intermediate is sufficient to make the base-catalyzed pathway insignificant relative to the k2 pathway. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Chem Kinet 37: 744–750, 2005