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Патент USA US3100186

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United States Patent. 0 ” ICC
Patented Aug. 6, 1963
organoboranes, particularly the lower alkyl boranes, are
extremely valuable catalytic agents.
John W. Ryznar, La Grange, and .lohn G. Premo, Western
Springs, Ill, assignors to Nalco Chemical Company,
Chicago, El, a corporation of Delaware
No Drawing. Filed Feb. 16, 1961, Ser. No. 89,832
4 Claims. (Cl. 204-59)
One of the objects of the invention is to provide an im
proved and radically different method for producing
Another object is to provide a route for the synthesis
of organoboranes which allows the preparation of a large
variety of organoboranes using a single synthetic proce
This invention relates to the preparation of organo
dure. Other objects will ‘appear hereinafter.
In accordance with the invention, it has been found
In 1859 the ?rst trialkyl boranes were prepared by the
that organoboranes may be easily prepared by electro
reaction of a dialkyl zinc compound with an alkyl ester
lyzing a Grignard reagent in an organic solvent for the
of boric acid. The equation representing this synthetic
Grignard reagent using ‘a boron anode and an electrically
route for the synthesis of trialkyl boranes is presented
conductive cathode. In this process the free hydrocarbon
15 radicals derived from the Grignard reagent combine with
Equation I
the boron of the anode to form the corresponding organo
borane. Simply expressed, the boron anode is sacri?cial
and is decomposed during the reaction to form the organo—
This method has been discarded as a practical route for
trialkyl boranes since it results in rather poor yields and 20
By using this electrolysis technique it is simple to re
necessitates the use of borate esters which are sometimes
act Grignard reagents of ‘the ‘formula RMgI-Ialide with
not readily available.
boron to pnoduce iorganoboranes corresponding to the
Another synthetic route which has been used for the
notation R3B. In these formulas R is an organic radical
preparation of organoboranes is the reaction of a borate
which is primarily composed of carbon and hydrogen.
ester with a Grignard reagent. This reaction is presented 25 In most instances R will be an acyclic hydrocarbon radi
below as Equation II.
cal containing from 1 to 18 carbon atoms.
The only limitation upon the type of organoborane that
may be produced resides in the type of Grignard reagent
used in the reaction. For preparing organoboranes by
While the Grignard route to the synthesis of organo 30 the practices of the invention such easily synthesized
boranes allows the preparation of a variety of both alkyl
Grignard reagents ‘as methyl magnesium chloride, iso
and aryl boranes, nevertheless, it is not entirely satisfac
propyl magnesium bromide, butyl magnesium chloride,
tory since the reaction in many cases is sluggish.
amyl magnesium iodide, phenyl magnesium bromide,
A more recent synthetic route to the preparation of.
ethyl magnesium chloride, octyl magnesium ' bromide,
organoboranes resides in the use of trialkyl aluminum 35 nonyl magnesium bromide, isobutyl magnesium chloride,
compounds reacted with a boron halide such as boron
and octadecyl magnesium bromide may be used. While
tri?uoride. This reaction proceeds in accordance with
‘any Grignard halides may be used to prepare the organo
Equation III.
Equation HI
3R3A1 + BF3'—> 3
borarr-es of ‘the invention, the organo magnesium chlo
40 rides seem to give higher yields. A possible explanation
for this phenomena is [the increase in electrical conduc
tivity of the organo magnesium chloride solutions.
While this route is fairly satisfactory for producing tri
The boron anode may be prepared from either crystal
alkyl boranes it is not too useful for preparing triaryl
line or amorphous boron. In the Well-known Norton
boranes. Other methods have been suggested for prepar
process, which is described in U.S. 2,542,916, elemental
ing organoboranes but by and large they are subject to 45 boron is produced by reacting boron trichloride with hy
several de?ciencies of the types noted above.
drogen. The resultant products are elernental boron and
An interesting synthetic procedure for making organo
hydrochloric acid. In this process a mixture of boron
boranes is reported in detail in the recent work entitled,
ltrichloride and hydrogen gas is passed over a series of
“Organo Metallic Chemistry,” H. Zeiss, Reinhold Pub 50 electrically-hearted graphite rods. The boron builds up
lishing Company, 1960. This method consists in react
as a layer on the graphite rods. The crystalline boron
ing ole?ns with alkali metal borohydrides. The addition
produced by this process has a high purity, viz.: usually
of borohydrides to \ole?ns provides a relatively convenient
in excess of 95% by weight. A typical analysis of boron
synthesis for many rorganoboron compounds. The meth
produced by this process is as follows.
od, while being simple and rapid, is only applicable with
starting compounds containing ole?nic unsaturation.
With the increasing number of synthetic routes avail
able for the preparation of organoboranes their use in
various industrial and commercial applications is becom
ing of increased importance. One of their most useful 60
applications resides in their catalytic activity for either
' the bulk solution or emulsion polymerization of certain
Percent by weight
Boron ______________________________ __
Carbon ___
_______________________________ __
____ __
_______ __. ___________________ __
vinyl monomers. Monomers such as vinyl chloride, vinyl
acetate, vinylidine chloride, methyl methacrylate, styrene
Manganese __________________________ __ Trace
and acrylonitrile have been catalyzed by trialkyl boranes. 65
Silica __
When triethylborane and tributylborane are used with
oxygen they are effective low temperature catalysts for
Another method that may be used in the preparation
of elemental boron is the well-known Czochralski method
the formation of stereoregular polymers of the polyvinyl
wherein ?ne crystals of boron are melted in a lboron ni
chloride type. When triethylborane is used in the polym
tride crucible to produce solid, relatively dense, boron.
erization of vinyl acetate the branch chaining phenomena 70 Similarly boron rods, wires, and other similar shapes
frequently found in the polymerization of this monomer
may be produced by using the Well-known hot wire tech
is substantially eliminated. It is thus evident that the
niques which are described in detail in the publication,
The solvent used for the Grignard regent must be
relatively inert under the conditions of the process. The
solvents used are organic liquids which have dielectric
properties, but which have su?icient conductivity to per
“Boron Synthesis, Structure, and Properties,” by Kohn et
al., Plenum Press, Inc, 1960.
Another method has been described which is admirably
suited for producing boron electrodes capable of being
mit passage of the current between the anode and the
used in the practices of the invention. "This method is
the subject of Schlesinger et a1. 2,528,454. This patent
cathode. When the process is operated using. solvents
such as diethylether and tetrahydrofuran, many of the
organobora-nes are soluble therein. Other typical sol
vents lWhiCh may be used ‘for conducting the reaction
shows that a variety of substrates may be coated with .
elemental crystalline boron by the use of elevated tem
peratures e.g., 300-500“ 0., with the boron source being
a boron hydride such as, ‘for example, diborane, dihydro 10 are such compounds as dimethyl ether, di‘isopropyl ether,
and homologs thereof including the well-known polyoxy
tetraborane or pentaborane.
Using the conditions and techniques described in this
alkylene diethers and polyethers e.g., the dimethyl ether
patent, it is possible to coat a variety ‘of substrates such
as metal cylinders, ceramic objects and the like with the
sentative list of solvents, ethers are preferred, particu
of .diethylene glycol. As can be seen from this repre
only particular limitation being that the best substrates 15 larly those ethers which contain at least four carbon atoms
or more, ‘although the number of carbon ‘atoms should
should desirably be capable .of forming a boride. Thus,
not generally exceed more than eight.
‘for example, such metals as iron, nickel, aluminum, or
Illustrative of the organoboranes that are capable of
copper may be boron coated. The shape of the article
being prepared by the practices of the invention are such
coated may be either in the (form of cylinders, rods,
20 well-known organo'boranes as trimethylborane, triethyl~
sheets, plates .or tubes.
borane, tri-n-propylborane, triisopropylb-orane, tri-n
For the purposes of this invention it is desirable that
butylborane, triisobutylborane, .tri-n-hexylborane, tri
the substrate used be electrically conductive and will not
vinylborane, triphenylborane, tri~2,5~dimethyl=phenyl
react with the Grignard reagent. A suitable substrate is
borane and tribeta-naphthyl borane.
tantalum, tungsten or colum-bium. These metals are
readily coated by the practices of Schlesinger U.S. 2,528, 25 It is obvious that the organic substituent of the Grig
nard reagent determines the particular organoborane ma
454 yet they do not tend to enter into the electrolysis re
terial to be produced. Thus the general reaction oc
curring during electrolysis may be expressed as follows:
Since elemental boron has a relatively ‘high speci?c
resistance e.g., 775,000 ohms at 27° ~C., it is bene?cial
Equation IV
that the boron electrode have the largest possible surface 30
Electrolysis ‘
area in the electrolysis cell.
In addition to presenting a
3RMgHalide + B -—-———> BR; + MgHalide
relatively large surface area, it is also bene?cial that the
boron electrode be as
ln a typical laboratory experiment to produce triethyl
as possible to further minimize
borane, an electrolysis cell would be set up utilizing as the
anode the boron coated tantalum sheet produced in ac
al. U.S. 2,528,454, it is possible to coat a thin tantalum
cordance with Schlesinger et al. U.S. 2,528,454. The
voltage drops. By using the practices of Schlesinger et
sheet with .a boron coating of at least several mils in
thickness. ‘If a lead in wire is aiiixed to the tantalum
cathode of ‘the cell would be composed of platinum or
stainless steel. Into the cell would be added diethyl ether
,sheet prior to the coating operation it is possible to
then connect the base tantalum sheet to a suitable source
and ethyl magnesium chloride.
After the reagents had been carefuly mixed in the cell
of positive direct current. The Schlesinger et al. coat
they would be nitrogen blanketed, the current would be
ing of boron on the tantalum sheet is dense and sub
applied, and su?‘icient voltage impressed until the current
stantially non-porous, while at the same time being a
density was in excess of 100 milliamperes.- To prevent
crystalline form of boron. Such a ?lm is not a?ected
overheating and volatilization of the reaction com
or permeated by the solution of the Grignard reagent
the Gzrignard solution may be withdrawn from
and to that extent it may be employed in the electrolysis 45 the cell periodically and recirculated through cooling
process with a minimum amount of voltage being re
equipment to maintain the temperature below the boiling
quired to produce the necessary current for the elec
point of the ingredients used and the triethyl borane.
trolysis reaction.
The current would ‘be applied ‘for a period of time suf
The cathode may be constructed of any electrically
?cient to sacri?cially remove the boron from the tantalum
conductive material such as, (for example, iron or platinum
coated electrode, e.g., about 8 hours. After the elec
although in a preferred embodiment of the invention the
trolysis is completed, it is possible to separate the triethyl~
cathode will also be an electrically conductive substrate
borane from the diethyl ether by distillation. After the
which has been uniformly coated with boron.
diethyl ether is removed from the triethyl borane the
During the electrolysis reaction, the anode sacri?ces
temperature may be elevated to 95° C., where the tri
boron to the Grignard reagent thereby forming the or 55 ethyl borane is readily recoverable, thereby separating it
ganobo-rane compound. As the boron is gradually
from the magnesium chloride and any other reaction
eroded due to the electrochemical processes involved and
products. Since the lower organoboranes such as triethyl
the electrically conductive substrate of the anode is ex
and trimethylborane are sensitive to oxygen and tend to
posed, a voltage change occurs when the boron ?lm is
spontaneously ignite upon contact with air, it is desirable
penetrated. When this happens and a boron ‘coated type
that all the reactions be conducted in the presence of an
cathode is employed it is possible to reverse the current
inert atmosphere, such as nitrogen.
of the system making the vformer anode the cathode and
The electrolysis reactions described above proceed
the cathode the anode thereby allowing a continuation
smoothly and rapidly. The sluggishness experienced by
of the process.
While it is desirable to use a boron-coated conductor,
it is also possible to use either ?ne particle size amor
phous or crystalline metallic boron particles if they are
placed into a suitable conductive container and electrical
ly separated from the cathode. When this type of ar
rangement is employed it is, of course, necessary to use
relatively high voltages e.g., usually in excess of 500
volts, to produce operating current densities which in
most cases must be approximately at least 100 milli
65 using Grignard reagents in the prior art preparations of
organoboranes is for ‘the most part eliminated.
An important advantage of the invention is that it al
lows the simple preparation of mixed organoboranes.
This is accomplished by using mixed Grignard reagents.
When this'technique is employed, fractional distillation
is necessary to separate the mixtures of products formed.
Having thus described my invention in all its useful
and novel aspects, it is claimed as follows.
We claim:
1. A process for preparing organoboranes which com
prises electrolyzing between a boron anode and a cathode,
a substantially anhydrous solution of a Gu‘ignard reagent
of the formula RMgHalide in a substantially inert solvent
solvent for the Gri-gnard reagent is an ether which con
tains at least ‘four carbon atoms and the RMgHalide is a
for the Gn'gnard reagent, and recovering as an elec
trolysis product an organoborane of the formula R3B
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
where R is an organic radical containing as its major
components the elements, carbon and hydrogen.
2. The process of claim 1 where R is an acyclic hydr0~
carbon radical of ‘from 1 to 18 carbon atoms in chain
3. The process of claim ‘=1 ‘where the boron anode com
Stone ________________ .._ Feb. 2, 1960
Great Britain ________ .._ June 29, 1960
prises an electrically conductive substrate which is uni
fommly coated with a dense, substantially non-porous thin
?lm of crystalline boron.
4. The process of claim 1 where the substantially inert 15
Jones and Gilman: “Chemical Reviews,” vol. 54, Octo
ber 1954, pages 844-846.
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