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A strong acid that does not protonate water

  • Author(s): Stoyanov, ES
  • Kim, KC
  • Reed, CA
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1021/jp0474091
Abstract

The nature of solvated acids in benzene and chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents is sensitively revealed by IR spectroscopy. Two similarly strong, structurally related acids, triflic acid (CF 3SO 3H) and the N-H acid bis-(trifluoromethylsulfonyl) imide ((CF 3SO 2) 2NH), behave quite differently toward water in. these media. Triflic acid protonates water at the one-equivalent level to give the hydronium ion, H 3O +. By contrast, bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl) imide forms a simple hydrate, (CF 3SO 2) 2NH-OH 2, even with water at the two-equivalent level. The difference arises from the differing abilities of the conjugate base anions to engage in H-bonding and ion pairing. It illustrates how acidity in low-dielectric media is critically dependent on the nature of the conjugate base anion. νO-H and νN-H stretching frequencies indicate that the H-bonding acceptor ability for solvents toward acidic protons increases in the order carbon tetrachloride < benzene ∼ 1, 2-dichoroethane < water. With benzene, a marked tendency for acidic protons to H-bond to the π-face of the arene ring is noted and an IR signature of this solvation mode is observed.

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