Formation of 2-hexene by cationic dimerization of propene: an ab initio and density functional theory study
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The formation of a 2-hexene radical cation from a propene radical cation and a neutral propene molecule is investigated by means of ab initio UHF and spin projected MP2 calculations, as well as the SVWN and B3LYP levels of density functional theory. A stable addition complex, with loose CC bonds, is found. To proceed from the addition complex to the product, a locally planar transition state must be passed, with a migrating hydrogen located half-way between the donating and the accepting carbon atoms. At the highest computational levels considered, PMP2/6-31G(d,p)//MP2/3-21G and B3LYP/6-31G(d,p), this transition state lies approximately 11 and 13 kcal/mol, respectively, above the addition complex. The high barrier is believed to be one reason why radical cation oligomerization of propene has not been detected experimentally, in contrast to the case of ethene, where the corresponding barrier is only a few kcal/mol.
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