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Predicting pKa Values of Quinols and Related Aromatic Compounds with Multiple OH Groups
journal contributionposted on 2021-10-06, 20:48 authored by Mathieu Morency, Sébastien Néron, Radu Iftimie, James D. Wuest
Quinonoid compounds play central roles as redox-active agents in photosynthesis and respiration and are also promising replacements for inorganic materials currently used in batteries. To design new quinonoid compounds and predict their state of protonation and redox behavior under various conditions, their pKa values must be known. Methods that can predict the pKa values of simple phenols cannot reliably handle complex analogues in which multiple OH groups are present and may form intramolecular hydrogen bonds. We have therefore developed a straightforward method based on a linear relationship between experimental pKa values and calculated differences in energy between quinols and their deprotonated forms. Simple adjustments allow reliable predictions of pKa values when intramolecular hydrogen bonds are present. Our approach has been validated by showing that predicted and experimental values for over 100 quinols and related compounds differ by an average of only 0.3 units. This accuracy makes it possible to select proper pKa values when experimental data vary, predict the acidity of quinols and related compounds before they are made, and determine the sites and orders of deprotonation in complex structures with multiple OH groups.
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