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Substituent Effects on the Acidities of Carboxylic Acids. When substituents are attached to a molecule, such as a carboxylic acid, they can influence the acidity (or basicity) of that substance.

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Substituent Effects on the Acidities of Carboxylic Acids


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    1. Substituent Effects on the Acidities of Carboxylic Acids WWU- Chemistry

    2. When substituents are attached to a molecule, such as a carboxylic acid, they can influence the acidity (or basicity) of that substance. • Some substituents strengthen acids and weaken bases; other substituents have the opposite effect, the weaken acids and strengthen bases. • Substituents exert their effects on acidity or basicity through a combination of resonance and inductive effects. • REVIEW: Lecture Textbook, Chapter 7, especially sections 7.6 through 7.8. WWU- Chemistry

    3. The essential idea is this: if a substituent removes electrons from the negative oxygen of a carboxylate ion, it will stabilize the ion. This effect shifts the equilibrium to the right and increases acidity. • If a substituent pours electrons toward the negative oxygen of a carboxylate ion, it will destabilize the ion. This effect will shift the equilibrium to the left and decrease acidity. WWU- Chemistry

    4. Electron-withdrawing Effects: • strengthen acids • weaken bases • Electron-releasing Effects: • weaken acids • strengthen bases WWU- Chemistry

    5. Resonance Effects on the Acidities of Carboxylic Acids WWU- Chemistry

    6. Resonance Effects of Substituents Consider a substituent that contains multiple bonds. Let represent such a substituent, where B is more electronegative than A. WWU- Chemistry

    7. In other words, let’s compare the acidities of: Which acid is stronger, and why? WWU- Chemistry

    8. The substituent will be a hybrid of two or more resonance forms of the type: The presence of the substituent on a molecule will influence the electron distribution throughout the entire structure. This type of effect, called a resonance effect, can be seen most clearly when the substituent is attached to a benzene ring. WWU- Chemistry

    9. To illustrate, consider a para-substituted benzoic acid. We can draw resonance forms: WWU- Chemistry

    10. For the carboxylate ion, the corresponding resonance forms would be: WWU- Chemistry

    11. The resonance forms that are the most important in our discussion are those forms where the positive charge is located on the carbon atom that also bears the functional group. The ionization of the substituted benzoic acid can thus be analyzed by examining the following equilibrium: WWU- Chemistry

    12. The positive charge in the ring attracts the electrons on the carboxylate group. The resonance effect of the substituent thus acts to stabilize the anion and shift the equilibrium to the right. • Remember that we are comparing the substituted benzoic acid with unsubstituted benzoic acid. In the unsubstituted benzoic acid, we are assuming that the substituent (H) makes no difference in the electron distribution in the ring. • Thus, we would expect the -A=B substituted benzoic acid to be a stronger acid than benzoic acid itself. WWU- Chemistry

    13. A specific example of the -A=B type of substituent is the nitrogroup (-NO2). A nitro group in the para position of a benzoic acid strengthens the acidity by a factor of six (0.8 log units). WWU- Chemistry

    14. The nitro group stabilizes the carboxylate anion and shifts the equilibrium to the right. NOTE: The nitro group also has an electron-withdrawing inductive effect; this has been ignored in this discussion. Inductive effects will be examined later. WWU- Chemistry

    15. The resonance effect of a substituent of the -A=B type reduces the electron density in the benzene ring. The resonance forms shown here represent this reduction of electron density by showing positive charge in the ring. • As a result, these substituents exert an electron-withdrawing resonance effect. • This is sometimes represented as a -R effect. • The following table shows several substituent groups that exert an electron-withdrawing resonance (-R) effect. WWU- Chemistry

    16. Substituents with Electron-Withdrawing Resonance Effects WWU- Chemistry

    17. The resonance forms show that positive charge is located at the ortho and para positions with respect to the substituent. • A functional group that is located ortho or para to the substituent will be influenced by the resonance effect. A substituent located meta to the substituent will be affected to a much smaller degree. • Therefore, we would expect that whenever a -R substituent is located ortho or para to a carboxyl group, the acidity of the benzoic acid should be increased. WWU- Chemistry

    18. -R substituents strengthen acids and weaken bases WWU- Chemistry

    19. Resonance Effects of Substituents (Part Two) Consider a substituent that contains an atom that bears one or more unshared pairs of electrons. Let represent such a substituent. WWU- Chemistry

    20. In other words, let’s compare the acidities of: Which acid is stronger, and why? WWU- Chemistry

    21. When this substituent is attached to the benzene ring, the unshared electron pairs will be shifted into the ring through resonance. Once again, the presence of the substituent on a molecule will influence the electron distribution throughout the entire structure. This is another example of a resonance effect. WWU- Chemistry

    22. To illustrate, consider a para-substituted benzoic acid. We can draw resonance forms: WWU- Chemistry

    23. For the carboxylate ion, the corresponding resonance forms would be: WWU- Chemistry

    24. The resonance forms that are the most important in our discussion are those forms where the negative charge is located on the carbon atom that also bears the functional group. The ionization of the substituted benzoic acid can thus be analyzed by examining the following equilibrium: WWU- Chemistry

    25. The negative charge in the ring repels the electrons on the carboxylate group. The resonance effect of the substituent thus acts to destabilize the anion and shift the equilibrium to the left. • Remember that we are comparing the substituted benzoic acid with unsubstituted benzoic acid. In the unsubstituted benzoic acid, we are assuming that the substituent (H) makes no difference in the electron distribution in the ring. • Thus, we would expect the -Y substituted benzoic acid to be a weaker acid than benzoic acid itself. WWU- Chemistry

    26. A specific example of the -Y type of substituent is the methoxy group (-OCH3). A methoxy group in the para position of a benzoic acid weakens the acidity by a factor of 1.9 (0.27 log units). WWU- Chemistry

    27. The methoxy group destabilizes the carboxylate anion and shifts the equilibrium to the left. NOTE: The methoxy group also has an electron-withdrawing inductive effect; this has been ignored in this discussion. Inductive effects will be examined later. WWU- Chemistry

    28. The resonance forms show that electron density is increased at the ortho and para positions with respect to the substituent. • A functional group that is located ortho or para to the substituent will be influenced by the resonance effect. A substituent located meta to the substituent will be affected to a much smaller degree. • Therefore, we would expect that whenever a +R substituent is located ortho or para to a carboxyl group, the acidity of the benzoic acid should be decreased. WWU- Chemistry

    29. Substituents with Electron-Releasing Resonance Effects WWU- Chemistry

    30. The resonance effect of a substituent of the -Y type increases the electron density in the benzene ring. The resonance forms shown here represent this increase of electron density by showing negative charge in the ring. • As a result, these substituents exert an electron-releasing resonance effect. This is sometimes called anelectron-donating resonance effect. • This is sometimes represented as a +R effect. • The following table shows several substituent groups that exert an electron-releasing resonance (+R) effect. WWU- Chemistry

    31. +R substituents weaken acids and strengthen bases WWU- Chemistry

    32. In the case of the alkyl substituents (which have no unshared pairs of electrons), their electron-releasing resonance effect arises from hyperconjugation. p-Methylbenzoic acid is less acidic than benzoic acid by a factor of 1.5 (0.17 log units) WWU- Chemistry

    33. Inductive Effects on the Acidities of Carboxylic Acids WWU- Chemistry

    34. Let’s now compare the acidities of two aliphaticcarboxylic acids: where X is an electronegative element. WWU- Chemistry

    35. Electronegative substituents attract electrons. • When electronegative elements are present in a molecule that can act as an acid, they enhance the acidity of the bond because they lower the electron density in that bond and because they stabilize the conjugate base. • Substituents of this type are said to have an electron-withdrawing inductive effect. This type of effect is often known as a -I effect. • The following table lists a number of substituents that have -I inductive effects: WWU- Chemistry

    36. Substituents with Electron-Withdrawing Inductive Effects WWU- Chemistry

    37. As before, whenever we consider the resonance or inductive effect of a substituent, we are comparing it with a reference substituent, hydrogen. When hydrogen is the substituent, it is treated as if it had no resonance or inductive effect. WWU- Chemistry

    38. -I substituents strengthen acids and weaken bases WWU- Chemistry

    39. And one last case, again comparing two aliphatic carboxylic acids: The alkyl substituent (R) is weakly electropositive with respect to a hydrogen. WWU- Chemistry

    40. When an electropositive substituent is placed in a molecule, we should see the opposite type of effect than we saw when electronegative substituents were present. • An electropositive substituent should show an electron-releasing (or electron-donating) inductive effect. • An electron-releasing inductive effect is sometimes known as a +I effect. • The following table lists several +I substituents. WWU- Chemistry

    41. Substituents with Electron-Releasing Inductive Effects WWU- Chemistry

    42. +I substituents weaken acids and strengthen bases WWU- Chemistry

    43. To illustrate the resonance and inductive effects described in this unit, consider the following examples: WWU- Chemistry

    44. The following table illustrates electron-withdrawing resonance effects. • Notice how the pKa values compare with the reference compound, acetic acid. WWU- Chemistry

    45. WWU- Chemistry

    46. The next table shows the effect on acidity that results from multiple substitution. Both electron-withdrawing and electron-releasing examples are included. • Again, acetic acid is used as a reference. WWU- Chemistry

    47. WWU- Chemistry

    48. In the next table, the effect of a chlorine substituent on the strength of a benzoic acid is shown. • The reference compound is benzoic acid. • -Cl has two competing effects: +R and -I • In the case of the chloro group, the -I effect is larger than the +R effect, so we see the -I effect. As the chloro group moves farther away from the carboxyl group, the acid becomes weaker. WWU- Chemistry

    49. In the case of the nitro substituent, both the inductive and resonance effects are electron-withdrawing (acid strengthening). • But the nitro group is more effective from the para position than from the meta position. This is because the resonance effect is contributing in the para position. WWU- Chemistry

    50. Benzoic Acid: pKa = 4.19 WWU- Chemistry