Ab Initio Study of Hydrogen Migration across n-Alkyl Radicals

2011-04-14T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Alexander C. Davis Joseph S. Francisco
A thorough ab initio investigation is conducted on all possible hydrogen migration pathways for the 1-ethyl, 1-propyl, 1-butyl, 1-pentyl, 1-hexyl, 1-heptyl, and 1-octyl radicals in order to determine underlying trends in reaction enthalpies, activation energies, Arrhenius A-factors, tunneling, and rate coefficients. The G4, G2, and CBS-Q composite methods are used to determine the enthalpy of reaction and activation energy barrier for each reaction. Each method shows excellent agreement with eight experimental enthalpy of reaction values, with root mean squared values of 0.8, 0.9, and 0.6 kcal mol−1 for CBS-Q, G2, and G4, respectively. Differences in barrier heights, A-factors, tunneling, and rate coefficients are observed for axial and equatorial arrangements as well as between secondary hydrogen migration sites, depending on the location of the secondary site relative to the terminal carbon. The validity of using cycloalkane model systems to estimate rate parameters is also assessed. The failure of two key assumptions inherent to the cycloalkane models, resulting in a breakdown in the accuracy of these methods for larger transition states, is discussed. This study has significant ramifications for future theoretical, experimental, and modeling studies involving the decomposition of n-alkanes.