The evolution of mechanistic ideas about the phenylcarbene rearrangement has been reviewed, and three closely linked problems have been identified toward whose solution this research has been aimed: 1. Why do the ratios of the stable end products from the rearrangements of o-, m- and p-tolylmethylene differ when all three reactions have been throught to pass through a common intermediate? 2. Why does the rearrangement of 2-methylcycloheptatrienylidene lead to exclusive formation of styrene? 3. What is the mechanism of styrene formation from o-tolylmethylene? New mechanisms have been proposed in which m- and p-tolylmethylene can rearrange to styrene without necessarily being converted to o-tolylmethylene. The formation of a small amount of 2,6-dimethylstyrene from the rearrangement of 3,4,5-trimethylphenylmethylene is viewed as evidence for such a mechanism, and a set of interconverting norcaradienylidenes are believed to be the crucial intermediates. Other alternatives are considered and rejected on the basis of the rearrangement products of 3,5-dimethyl- and 3,4,5-trimethylphenylmethylene.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Drug Discovery
- Organic Chemistry