The thermal unimolecular decomposition rate constants of ethoxy radicals

Françoise Caralp, Pascal Devolder, Christa Fittschen, Nathalie Gomez, Horst Hippler, Raphaêl Méreau, Marie T. Rayez, Frank Striebel, Béla Viskolcz

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We experimentally determined complete falloff curves of the rate constant for the unimolecular decomposition of ethoxy radicals. Two different techniques, laser flash photolysis and fast flow reactor were used both coupled to a detection of C2H5O radicals by laser induced fluorescence. Experiments were performed at total pressures between 0.001 and 60 bar of helium and in the temperature range of 391-471 K. Under these conditions the β-C-C scission (1a) CH3CH2O. + M → CH2O + .CH3 + M is the dominating decomposition channel. From a complete analysis of the experimental falloff curves the low and the high pressure limiting rate constants of k(1a,0) = [He] 3.3 x 10-8 exp(-58.5 kJ mol-1/RT) cm3 s-1 and k(1a,∞) = 1.1 x 1013 exp(-70.3 kJ mol-1/RT) s-1 were extracted. We estimate an uncertainty for the absolute values of these rate constants of ± 30%. Preexponential factor and activation energy are significantly lower than previous estimations. The rate constants are discussed in terms of statistical unimolecular rate theory. Excellent agreement between the experimental and the statistically calculated rate constants has been found. BAC-MP4, QCISD(T), or higher level of theory provide a reliable picture of the energy and the structure of the transition state of this radical bond dissociation reaction. On the same theoretical basis we predict the high pressure limiting rate constant for the β-C-H scission (1b) CH3CH2O. + M → CH3CHO + H + M of k(1b,∞) = 1.3 x 1013 exp(-84 kJ mol-1/RT) s-1. Atmospheric implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2935-2944
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Cite this

Caralp, F., Devolder, P., Fittschen, C., Gomez, N., Hippler, H., Méreau, R., Rayez, M. T., Striebel, F., & Viskolcz, B. (1999). The thermal unimolecular decomposition rate constants of ethoxy radicals. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 1(12), 2935-2944.