Molecular interactions in diffusion-controlled aldol condensation with mesoporous silica nanoparticles

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2022-04-11
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Iowa State University Digital Repository, Ames IA (United States)
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Evans, James
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Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry seeks to provide students with a foundation in the fundamentals and application of chemical theories and processes of the lab. Thus prepared they me pursue careers as teachers, industry supervisors, or research chemists in a variety of domains (governmental, academic, etc).

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The aldol reaction of p-nitrobenzaldehyde in amino-catalyzed mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN) has revealed varying catalytic activity with the size of the pores of MSN. The pore size dependence related to the reactivity indicates that the diffusion process is important. A detailed molecular-level analysis for understanding diffusion requires assessment of the noncovalent interactions of the molecular species involved in the aldol reaction with each other, with the solvent, and with key functional groups on the pore surface. Such an analysis is presented here based upon the effective fragment potential (EFP). The EFP method can calculate the intermolecular interactions, decomposed into Coulomb, polarization, dispersion, exchange-repulsion, and charge-transfer interactions. In this study, the potential energy surfaces corresponding to each intermolecular interaction are analyzed for homo- and hetero-dimers with various configurations. The monomers that compose dimers are five molecules such as p-nitrobenzaldehyde, acetone, n-hexane, propylamine, and silanol. The results illustrate that the dispersion interaction is crucial in most dimers.
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This article is published as Kim, Yu Lim, James W. Evans, and Mark S. Gordon. "Molecular interactions in diffusion-controlled aldol condensation with mesoporous silica nanoparticles." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 24, no. 17 (2022): 10475-10487. DOI: 10.1039/D2CP00952H. Copyright 2022 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0). Posted with permission. DOE Contract Number(s): AC02-07CH11358.
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