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The Influence of Short Strong Hydrogen Bonding on the Structure and the Physicochemical Properties of Alkyl-N-iminodiacetic Acids in Solid State and Aqueous Systems

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posted on 2003-02-28, 00:00 authored by Leif Häggman, Cecilia Lindblad, Hans Oskarsson, Ann-Sofi Ullström, Ingmar Persson
Alkyl-N-iminodiacetic acids with varying alkyl chain lengths have been prepared and characterized with respect to structure, acidic properties, and ability to form aggregates in water. The alkyl-N-iminodiacetic acids are the group of ligands with the lowest molecule weight which can be characterized as chelating surfactants, compounds with surface chemical properties which at the same time have a high ability to bind metal ions. The solid alkyl-N-iminodiacetic acids have a unique structure with neutral zwitterionic units linked together to polymer chains through a short strong hydrogen bond, d(O(−H)···O) ≈ 2.46 Å, and where the ν(O−H) stretching vibration at ca. 720 cm-1 supports the presence of such a hydrogen bond. The polymer chains are cross-linked together to bilayers through relatively strong hydrogen bonds between ammonium and carboxylate groups, and where the parallel alkyl groups are interdigitating each other; the bilayer surface consists of hydrophilic iminodiacetic acid groups. The acidic properties of monomeric alkyl-N-iminodiacetic acids in water are in the expected ranges with pKa values of about 1.7, 2.3, and 10.3. n-Octadecyl-N-iminodiacetic acid, present as aggregates in water, displays very acidic properties of the first proton, and a substantially weakened acidity of the second proton, pKa2 = 5.5−7.5, depending on ionic strength, and pKa3 = 9.5−10.5. This pattern of the acidic constants strongly indicates that the polymer structure with short strong hydrogen bonds is maintained in the aggregates and that such bonds can exist in aqueous systems if they are supported by a strong and rigid backbone structure, as the bilayers of well-organized long interdigitating alkyl chains in the studied systems. Hydrogenbis(methyl-N-iminodiacetic acid) perchlorate precipitates from perchloric acidic solutions of methyl-N-iminodiacetic acid. The structure is built up of dimers of zwitterionic methyl-N-iminodiacetic acid units linked together by an extra proton in a short strong hydrogen bond, d(O(−H)···O) ≈ 2.456(6) Å, and ν(O−H) = 789 cm-1.

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