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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Complete Mechanism of an Aldol Condensation

  • Author(s): Perrin, CL
  • Chang, K-L
  • et al.

Although aldol condensation is one of the most important organic reactions, capable of forming new C-C bonds, its mechanism has never been fully established. It is now concluded that the rate-limiting step in the base-catalyzed aldol condensation of benzaldehydes with acetophenones, to produce chalcones, is the final loss of hydroxide and formation of the C-C double bond. This conclusion is based on a study of the partitioning ratios of the intermediate ketols and on the solvent kinetic isotope effects, whereby the condensations are faster in D2O than in H2O, regardless of substitution.

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