Re: CCL:rotational barrier: experiment and theory
On May 29, 3:16am, Jorge Seminario wrote:
> Subject: CCL:rotational barrier: experiment and theory
> Hello dear members:
> I wonder if you could help me to clear up some problems to interpret my
> colleagues' experiment by using our computational tools. The molecule
> consists in two benzene rings connected by two carbon atoms.
> The experiment on Ph-C-C-Ph (where the central C-C bond is triple and
> the adjacents are single) indicates that a sudden rotation of one of
> the benzene rings with respect to the other is initiated when the
> temperature reaches 30 K.
What is meant by "sudden"? All your other arguments seem to argue
for an activated process, which would imply Arrhenius-type behavior;
this is not usually called "sudden", though in colloquial sense
I suppose it is.
> ... The calculations
> yield a barrier of about 0.5 kcal/mol for the rotation of the benzene
> rings. The argument against this theoretical barrier is that
> at 30K, the kT (or RT) available for this mode is only 0.06 kcal/mol and
> therefore, the rotation of the phenyl groups is not possible because the
> barrier is almost ten times bigger than the available energy.
Sorry, but this argument isn't right. RT= ca. 2.5 kJ at 300K, yet
most chemical reactions of everyday interest have activation energies
many times greater than this. For instance, we're told in school
that "typical" room-temperature reactions double in rate when the
temperature is raised by 10 K. A typical exam question is to compute
the activation energy of such a reaction. The answer is about
53 kJ/mol, or more than 20 RT.
The action proceeds because the "pre-exponential factor" is enormously
high at room temperature. We now turn to the back of the proverbial
Using Eyring formalism to estimate the pre-exponential factor,
kT/h_bar is equal to about 4x10^13/s at 300 K; at 30 K, we get
4x10^12/s, which is still huge.
The Boltzmann factor comes out to about 2x10^-4 for your reaction
at 30 K, but multiplying this by the corresponding pre-exponential
factor gives a rate constant of about 8x10^8/sec, which is pretty
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