- “Initial Tails” and “Final Heads”
- 3 Ways To Make OH A Better Leaving Group
- A Simple Formula For 7 Important Aldehyde/Ketone Reactions
- Acids (Again!)
- Activating and Deactivating
- Actors In Every Acid Base Reaction
- Addition – Elimination
- Addition Pattern 1 – Carbocations
- Addition pattern 2 – 3 membered rings
- Addition Reactions
- Aldehydes And Ketones – Addition
- Alkene Pattern #3 – The “Concerted” Pathway
- Alkyl Rearrangements
- Alkynes – 3 Patterns
- Alkynes: Deprotonation and SN2
- Aromaticity: Lone Pairs
- Avoid These Resonance Mistakes
- Best Way To Form Amines
- Bulky Bases
- Carbocation Stability
- Carbocation Stability Revisited
- Carboxylic Acids are Acids
- Chair Flips
- Cis and Trans
- Conjugate Addition
- Curved Arrow Refresher
- Curved Arrows
- Determining Aromaticity
- Diels Alder Reaction – 1
- Dipoles: Polar vs. Covalent Bonding
- E2 Reactions
- Electronegativity Is Greed For Electrons
- Electrophilic Aromatic Substitution – Directing Groups
- Elimination Reactions
- Enantiocats and Diastereocats
- Epoxides – Basic and Acidic
- Evaluating Resonance Forms
- Figuring Out The Fischer
- Find That Which Is Hidden
- Formal Charge
- Frost Circles
- Gabriel Synthesis
- Hofmann Elimination
- How Acidity and Basicity Are Related
- How Are These Molecules Related?
- How Stereochemistry matters
- How To Stabilize Negative Charge
- How To Tell Enantiomers From Diastereomers
- Hybridization Shortcut
- Imines and Enamines
- Importance of Stereochemistry
- Intermolecular Forces
- Intro to Resonance
- Ketones on Acid
- Kinetic Thermodynamic
- Making Alcohols Into Good Leaving Groups
- Markovnikov’s rule
- Mechanisms Like Chords
- Mish Mashamine
- More On The E2
- Newman Projections
- Nucleophiles & Electrophiles
- Nucleophilic Aromatic Substitution
- Nucleophilic Aromatic Substitution 2
- Order of Operations!
- Oxidation And Reduction
- Oxidative Cleavage
- Pi Donation
- Pointers on Free Radical Reactions
- Protecting Groups
- Protecting Groups
- Proton Transfer
- Putting it together (1)
- Putting it together (2)
- Putting it together (3)
- Putting the Newman into ACTION
- Reaction Maps
- Recognizing Endo and Exo
- Redraw / Modify
- Robinson Annulation
- Robinson Annulation Mech
- Sigma and Pi Bonding
- SN1 vs SN2
- sn1/sn2 – Putting It Together
- sn1/sn2/e1/e2 – Exceptions
- sn1/sn2/e1/e2 – Nucleophile
- sn1/sn2/e1/e2 – Solvent
- sn1/sn2/e1/e2 – Substrate
- sn1/sn2/e1/e2 – Temperature
- Strong Acid Strong Base
- Strong And Weak Oxidants
- Strong and Weak Reductants
- Stronger Donor Wins
- Sugars (2)
- Synthesis (1) – “What’s Different?”
- Synthesis (2) – What Reactions?
- Synthesis (3) – Figuring Out The Order
- Synthesis Part 1
- Synthesis Study Buddy
- Synthesis: Walkthrough of A Sample Problem
- Synthesis: Working Backwards
- The 4 Actors In Every Acid-Base Reaction
- The Claisen Condensation
- The E1 Reaction
- The Inflection Point
- The Meso Trap
- The Michael Reaction
- The Nucleophile Adds Twice (to the ester)
- The One-Sentence Summary Of Chemistry
- The Second Most Important Carbonyl Mechanism
- The Single Swap Rule
- The SN1 Reaction
- The SN2 Reaction
- The Wittig Reaction
- Three Exam Tips
- Tips On Building Molecular Orbitals
- Top 10 Skills
- Try The Acid-Base Reaction First
- Two Key Reactions of Enolates
- What makes a good leaving group?
- What Makes A Good Nucleophile?
- What to expect in Org 2
- Work Backwards
- Zaitsev’s Rule
Today’s subject causes more confusion and difficulty than almost any other subject in Org 1.
Surprisingly, however – this reaction can be represented by just one arrow. That’s it. So if you master drawing this one arrow, you master the reaction.
I’m talking here about rearrangements of carbocations.
Remember the order of carbocation stability: primary << secondary < tertiary ? Carbocations are much “happier” when they are attached to extra alkyl groups.
Imagine if a primary carbocation (really unstable) could “miraculously” transform itself into a more stable carbocation, such as a secondary or tertiary carbocation. That would be pretty strongly favored, right?
Here’s the thing: if we generate a primary carbocation adjacent to a secondary carbon, this “miracle” can occur: by breaking one C-H bond and forming one C-H bond.
Well, look at this. Here comes the arrow!
The pair of electrons goes from the C2-H bond to the C-1 carbon. So we form C1-H and we break C-2 H. And look at the product we’ve made here. A secondary carbocation! More stable! And we’ve made this by moving a hydrogen and its electrons.
How can this happen? Because carbocations have empty p orbitals (they’re sp2 hybridized). And you can kind of imagine this empty p orbital “accepting” the pair of electrons from the C-H bond, while the initial C-H bond breaks.
It doesn’t just happen for primary carbocations going to secondary carbocations though. It can happen any time there is the potential to form a more stable carbocation, a rearrangement can occur.
So we can have
- primary carbocation -> secondary carbocation
- primary carbocation -> tertiary carbocation
- secondary carbocation -> tertiary carbocation
Like water flowing downhill, notice that we’re always going from less stable to more stable.
All of these transformations can occur through the breaking and forming of a C-H bond. These are called “hydride shifts” or “1,2-shifts”, or “Wagner-Meerwein shifts”, if you want to get really technical.
Tomorrow: let’s dig in a little more and talk about when carbons can move!
Thanks for reading! James
P.S. Relevant post: Introduction to Rearrangment Reactions