In this experiment, students will synthesize and characterize an iron complex followed by completion of two series of catalytic cross-coupling reactions mimicking the methodology utilized by organometallic chemists to balance catalyst efficacy and substrate scope. Initially the complex Fe(acac)3 [acac = acetylacetone] is prepared. Two sets of catalytic reactions are completed: one comparing different iron catalysts (Fe(acac)3, FeCl2, FeCl3) while the other compares substrates (4-chlorotoluene, 4-chlorobenzonitrile, 4-chlorotrifluorotoluene). This experiment was designed during the June 2015 “Improving Inorganic Chemistry Pedagogy” workshop funded by the Associated Colleges of the South.
● Prepare Fe(acac)3 and perform appropriate characterization.
● Develop skills in manipulating chemicals in an air-free environment.
● Determine efficacy of catalytic reactions (% product) using appropriate analytical technique
● Provide explanations for differences in product yields grounded by inorganic theory
GC, GC/MS, or NMR spectrometer
Air-Free equipment to maintain nitrogen-environment
This experiment will be piloted during the 2015-2016 school year. As we collect data we will post additional information regarding experimental details and evaluation methods. We welcome others in the VIPEr community to help us test this! If you do try this, consider filling out the evaluation file attached and sending to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students will synthesize and characterize the iron complex individually. Each student should complete an appropriate subset of the catalytic reactions such that the pooled class data has each catalytic reaction replicated in triplicate. The Fe(acac)3 complex is commercially available so it is possible to complete the lab in two sessions if students are provided with all three catalysts initially.