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Book Review Olefin Metathesis and Ring-Opening Polymerization of Cyclo-Olefins. By V. Dragutan A. T. Balaban and M

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ists other than combustion specialists. An example is the
generalized reaction mechanism for hydrocarbon oxidation on p. 381, which contains reactions such as RO-tOR,
and the explanation which follows. Nevertheless, the book
is recommended for all combustion chemists, as it will expand their knowledge and thus make their work easier.
Klaus-Heinrich Homann [NB 764 IE]
Institut fur Physikalische Chemie
der Technischen Hochschule Darmstadt (FRO)
Olefin Metathesis and Ring-Opening Polymerization of Cyclo-Olefins. By V. Dragutan, A . T. Balaban, and M . Dimonie. Wiley, Chichester, and Editura Academiei, Bucharest 1985. 544 pp., bound, 5 34.50.--ISBN 0-47190267-5
Following the publication in 1985 of the revised second
edition, in Rumanian, of the book by V. Dragutan, A . T.
Balaban, and M . Dimonie, an English translation has now
appeared, making it accessible to a wider range of readers.
It is concerned with the scientific and technological aspects of metathesis reactions of linear and cyclic olefins.
Since its discovery by Banks and Bailey in 1964, catalyzed
olefin metathesis has quickly attained considerable importance in organic, macromolecular and organometallic
chemistry. The main areas of application emphasized are
olefin syntheses (triolefin process, Shell higher olefins
process and petrochemicals olefin syntheses), and the synthesis of elastomeric polyalkenes. Consequently, there is a
large group of interested readers who will welcome a specialist book on this subject.
Dragutan. Balaban, and Dirnonie present here, in nine
chapters, a broad, application-oriented, survey of metathesis reactions. Chapter 1 contains a short historical overview, and definitions of metathesis reactions such as homometathesis, cometathesis and ethenolysis. In Chapter 2
the common heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysts for
metathesis are described as well as reaction variables such
as temperature, pressure and solvent. In Chapter 3 the metathesis reactions of linear and cyclic olefins and of alkynes are systematically discussed. Ring-opening metathesis of mono-, bi- and polycyclic olefins is described in detail in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 gives a brief examination of
the thermodynamic aspects of the metathesis of olefins
and the ring-opening polymerization of cyclic olefins.
Chapter 6 deals in detail with reaction kinetics and mechanisms. Each of the intermediate steps in the currently favored carbene mechanism for metathesis reactions of linear and cyclic olefins are examined in detail and the effects of different transition metals, ligands and co-catalysts
are discussed. Mechanisms for alkyne polymerization are
also dealt with. In Chapter 7 an account is given of the
stereochemistry of metathesis reactions, with experimental
results and theoretical ideas clearly presented alongside
each other. Chapter 8 is devoted to practical applications;
this iycludes discussion both of existing technological
processes and of further possible applications to the synthesis of organic compounds. The final chapter contains a
comprehensive survey of known metathesis reactions in
the form of tables, listed both according to catalysts, and
the substrate olefins and alkynes.
The literature cited and discussed covers approximately
2000 publications u p to 1982. In view of the wealth of published papers in the area of metathesis in recent years, a
further new edition or a supplement will presumably appear before very long.
On the whole, this reference book provides a very comprehensive survey (up to 1982) of the metathesis of linear
olefins and the ring-opening polymerization of cyclic olefins. The research findings and the reaction mechanisms
are discussed in a lucid manner. The figures and tables are
clearly set out and easy to understand. A minor fault is the
poor quality printing, especially apparent in some of the
figures. The book is primarily suited for chemists working
in the metathesis field, whether their objectives are mainly
of a chemical (organic, macromolecular or organometallic)
or technological nature.
Karin Weiss [NB 769 IE]
Laboratorium fur Anorganische Chemie
der Universitat Bayreuth (FRG)
Polymers. The Origins and Growth of a Science. By H. Morawetz, Wiley, Chichester 1985. xvi, 306 pp., bound,
X 54.95.--ISBN 0-471-89638-1
Unlike molecular biology or biotechnology, macromolecular chemistry is not a field of technology that attracts the
attention of the public at large. Nevertheless, our industrial civilization has become highly dependent upon polymer science, i.e. upon the synthesis and properties of polymers. Polymers in the form of plastics, synthetic fibers,
coatings, adhesives, synthetic rubbers and insulating materials make up one of the most important branches of the
chemical industry. The standard of living now enjoyed by
Western industrial nations would scarcely be conceivable
if the materials provided by macromolecular chemistry did
not exist.
Herbert Morawetz’s book on the origins and growth of
polymer science is a ‘must’ for all those who wish to come
to terms with macromolecular chemistry and physics and
who are not merely interested in current facts and figures
but also want to find out about the internal structure and
concepts of this field of science.
In 25 fascinating chapters Morawetz describes the intellectual and experimental difficulties that have had to be
overcome since the days of Berzelius in order to understand the complexity, diversity and dynamics of macromolecular structures and their properties.
Polymer science has profited from the advances made in
general chemistry and physics, yet concomitantly it has
stimulated these sciences in certain respects. The interest
shown by technology and industry in new materials have
done their part to accelerate the progress of research.
These considerations run through the whole of the book.
Morawetz deals with already well known examples-the
study of the structure and properties of natural and synthetic rubbers, the controversies concerning the structure
and properties of cellulose as a basic material in the textile
industry, which finally led to the development of synthetic
fibers, and the elucidation of the mechanism for the radical polymerization of olefins, which is basic to the organic
chemistry of free radicals and has also enabled the synthesis of important plastics.
The achievements of individual research workers can
only be appreciated in the light of the knowledge available
to them. The ranges and efficiencies of the methods and
techniques at their disposal also have to be taken into consideration. Morawetz has successfully managed to relate
this in an understandable way, he has made a point of substantiating the concepts of each research worker and his
scientific competitors by using original quotations. AlAngew. Chem.
Ed. Engi. 26 11987) No. 3
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metathesis, book, balaban, opening, olefin, dragutan, ring, cycle, review, polymerization
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