Synthesis of Surfactants Based on Pentaerythritol. I. Cationic and Zwitterionic Gemini Surfactants

Simple strategies for the synthesis of five series of cationic gemini surfactants and one series of zwitterionic gemini surfactants from pentaerythritol have been developed. Two lipophilic groups were introduced onto pentaerythritol by alkylation of the known compound, O-benzylidenepentaerythritol, with 1-bromooctane, 1-bromodecane, 1-bromododecane, and 1-bromotetradecane. Hydrogenolysis of the benzylidene acetals gave diols which were converted into three different series of trimethylammonium derivatives. The diiodides derived from the diols could be displaced by dimethylamine, even though they are adjacent to a quaternary carbon atom. Alkylation with methyl iodide gave the first series. The iodides were easily displaced by cyanide ion and the resulting dinitriles were hydrolyzed, converted to N,N-dimethylamides, and reduced to give a second series. Oxidation of the diols to dialdehydes under Swern conditions followed by Horner−Wadsworth−Emmons reactions with diethyl N,N-dimethylcarbamoylmethylphosphonate followed by two-stage reduction gave a third series. The dialkoxides derived from the four di-O-alkylpentaerthritol diols were reacted with 2-dimethylaminoethyl chloride and 3-dimethylaminopropyl chloride in neighboring-group assisted double Williamson ether syntheses to give precursors to two more series. As expected because the neighboring group participation occurs through a four-membered-ring intermediate, considerably more vigorous conditions were required for the reactions with 3-dimethylaminopropyl chloride. 2-Diethylaminoethyl bromide was found to be less reactive than 2-dimethylaminoethyl chloride. The products were alkylated with methyl iodide and, in some cases, other alkyl halides to give cationic gemini surfactants. Alkylation of one series with ethyl bromoacetate followed by anion exchange resin catalyzed ester hydrolysis gave zwitterionic gemini surfactants. The members of all series have superior surfactant properties.