This 5 slides about introduces the term "atom economy" as a means for undergraduates to start thinking about the efficiency of synthetic reactions. While this term may not be the best measure of the overall process of a reaction (as it ignores other factors such as solvents and materials used in purification), it provides a nice introduction to a concept on green chemistry. An example of an atom economic reaction, hydroamination, is briefly highlighted as it is an important ongoing research area. Notes for the instructor are included in the slides.
Students should be able to:
- define atom economy and use it to assess the efficiency of a reaction
- explain the hydroamination reaction and the strategies involved to facilitate the reaction with a metal catalyst
- describe the bonding of metal-imido bonds and metal-pi-C=C bonds
Calculation of atom economy or drawing of molecular orbitals of the bonds involved could be a useful classroom activity. The mechanisms presented are selected examples that have been simplified, and one should keep in mind that other mechanisms exist, as well as other metals.