Monday, 5 June 2006 - 2:35 PM
Cocoa 2 (Hershey Lodge and Convention Center)

Clean, fast microwave-assisted organic chemistry for the undergraduate laboratory

Cynthia B. McGowan, Merrimack College, N. Andover, MA and Nicholas Leadbeater, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.

In preparation for both the industrial and academic worlds, the undergraduate chemistry major of today must gain proficiency with state-of-the-art reaction equipment, synthetic techniques, and analytical instrumentation. Reactions covered in organic chemistry laboratory also typically require lengthy reflux periods, leaving little time for characterization, purification or repeating a procedure. It also prohibits students from undertaking more “interesting” reactions. Microwave heating can offer a rapid and efficient alternative to conventional oil-bath, sand-bath, or steam-bath technology. We have converted a number of undergraduate laboratory experimental procedures for use with microwave heating. Shortened laboratory reaction times can gain students more time to design, optimize, characterize and analyze reaction processes and products. Additionally, microwave-assisted reactions can often be run neat or in aqueous solutions, minimizing the need for organic solvents, simplifying work-up procedures, and providing more environmentally friendly reaction conditions. We will describe classical organic reactions such as elimination, addition, esterification, Diels-Alder cycloaddition, and aldol condensations that now require minutes to perform. In addition, a multi-step synthesis will also be presented in which microwave heating is used in each step.

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