American Chemical Society
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Theoretical Study of the Oxidation Mechanisms of Naphthalene Initiated by Hydroxyl Radicals: The OH-Addition Pathway

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journal contribution
posted on 2014-07-03, 00:00 authored by Abolfazl Shiroudi, Michael S. Deleuze, Sébastien Canneaux
The oxidation mechanisms of naphthalene by OH radicals under inert (He) conditions have been studied using density functional theory along with various exchange–correlation functionals. Comparison has been made with benchmark CBS-QB3 theoretical results. Kinetic rate constants were correspondingly estimated by means of transition state theory and statistical Rice–Ramsperger–Kassel–Marcus (RRKM) theory. Comparison with experiment confirms that, on the OH-addition reaction pathway leading to 1-naphthol, the first bimolecular reaction step has an effective negative activation energy around −1.5 kcal mol–1, whereas this step is characterized by an activation energy around 1 kcal mol–1 on the OH-addition reaction pathway leading to 2-naphthol. Effective rate constants have been calculated according to a steady state analysis upon a two-step model reaction mechanism. In line with experiment, the correspondingly obtained branching ratios indicate that, at temperatures lower than 410 K, the most abundant product resulting from the oxidation of naphthalene by OH radicals must be 1-naphthol. The regioselectivity of the OH-addition onto naphthalene decreases with increasing temperatures and decreasing pressures. Because of slightly positive or even negative activation energies, the RRKM calculations demonstrate that the transition state approximation breaks down at ambient pressure (1 bar) for the first bimolecular reaction steps. Overwhelmingly high pressures, larger than 105 bar, would be required for restoring to some extent (within ∼5% accuracy) the validity of this approximation for all the reaction channels that are involved in the OH-addition pathway. Analysis of the computed structures, bond orders, and free energy profiles demonstrate that all reaction steps involved in the oxidation of naphthalene by OH radicals satisfy Leffler–Hammond’s principle. Nucleus independent chemical shift indices and natural bond orbital analysis also show that the computed activation and reaction energies are largely dictated by alterations of aromaticity, and, to a lesser extent, by anomeric and hyperconjugative effects.