Insights into a surprising reaction: The microwave-assisted direct esterification of phosphinic acids

György Keglevich, Nóra Zsuzsa Kiss, Zoltán Mucsi, Tamás Körtvélyesi

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It is well-known that phosphinic acids do not undergo direct esterifications with alcohols under thermal conditions. However, the esterifications take place under microwave (MW) irradiation due to the beneficial effect of MW. As a comparison, maximum 12-15% conversions were observed on traditional heating. It was proved experimentally that the MW-assisted esterifications are not reversible under the conditions applied that may be the consequence of the hydrophobic medium established by the long chain alcohol/phosphinic ester. Neither the thermodynamic, nor the kinetic data obtained by high level quantum chemical calculations justify the direct esterification of phosphinic acids under thermal conditions. The thermodynamic data show that there is no driving force for the reactions under discussion. As a consequence of the relatively high values of activation enthalpy (102-161 kJ mol -1), these esterifications are controlled kinetically. Comparing the energetics of the esterification of phosphinic acids and the preparative results obtained under MW conditions, one can see the potential of the MW technique in the synthesis of phosphinates. During our study, a series of new cyclic phosphinates with lipophilic alkyl groups was synthesized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2011-2018
Number of pages8
JournalOrganic and Biomolecular Chemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Mar 14 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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