Todd:Chem3x11 ToddL5

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Chem3x11 Lecture 5

Under construction Sat May 5.

This lecture is about Neighbouring Group Participation (sometimes also called Anchimeric Assistance).

(Back to the main teaching page)

Key concepts

  • Groups/atoms with available electrons positioned near the carbon involved in a substitution reaction can influence the reaction
  • 2
  • 3

Simple Examples of NGP

A sulfur atom in the 2-position of an alkyl halide greatly increases the reactivity of that alkyl halide.

Scheme 1: Effect of a Sulfur Atom in the 2-Position of an Alkyl Chloride

This is not terribly surprising when you realise that S is a good nucleophile. Though we give these kinds of influences the fancy name of neighbouring group participation (NGP) or anchimeric assistance, keep in mind it's just intramolecular nucleophilic attack. The reaction goes through a high energy intermmediate (a sulfonium ion), and you might want to pause and think what that will mean in terms of its rate behaviour and whether this is an SN1 or SN2 reaction.

Scheme 2: Role of the Sulfur Atom in NGP

These kinds of structures (2-chlorothioethers) are sometimes called mustard gases, and were used with terrible effect as chemical weapons in World War I. The sulfonium ion can react with many biomolecules, yet if it reacts with water it produces HCl which can burn and blister the skin. This is an unusual example - chemistry is typically a Force for Good.

Besides effects on rates of reactions, NGP has very considerable influence on reaction stereochemistry, which we'll now look at.

The Licence for This Page

Is CC-BY-3.0 meaning you can use whatever you want, provided you cite me.