Destroyer Ochem #17

Skateguitar

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Dec 13, 2009
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  1. Pre-Dental
    Branching decreases surface area. More Carbons = more Surface area. branching Sandwhiches the Boiling point and Melting point. So the Boiling Point is lowered, and the Melting Point is Increased.

    Here, they have the same # of carbons, so we look at branching. 2234 tetramethyl butane has more branches, branching sandwiches BP and MP so BP is lower and MP is higher.
     
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    orgohacks

    Organic chemist
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    Mar 17, 2010
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      Why does branching lower the head of combustion?

      2,2,3,4-tetramethyl-butane has a lower heat of combustion than octane O_O

      i.e. why do branched isomers give off more heat when combusted than non-branched.

      Great question. It's not commonly answered in organic chemistry textbooks, nor is it generally tested for, because it goes into hyperconjugation and molecular orbital theory. Move on.
      --------
      *only if you MUST know*
      Essentially, in linear alkenes you're going to have a greater number of stabilizing hyperconjugative interactions where a C-C sigma bond is donating into a C-C sigma* orbital, and these are more stabilizing than interactions between C-H and C-C bonds due to better orbital overlap.
      E.g. in 2,2-dimethylpropane you can't have any C-C(sigma) - C-C sigma* bonds, whereas in n-pentane there are 4 potential interactions. Therefore n-pentane is going to be more stable.

      These are very subtle effects and go way beyond the scope of what you're expected to know. For instance the difference in heat of combustion between 2,2,4-trimethylpentane and n-octane is only 30 kJ/mol. (5461 kJ/mol vs. 5430 kJ/mol). we're talking less than 1% difference here.

      Hyperconjugation also explains why substituted alkenes are more stable, but that's another story.
       
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