Reactions of thermal energy electrons with organic compounds



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The products resulting from reactions between electrons at thermal energy and organic compounds have been studied. Thermal electrons were generated by maintaining a corona discharge between a stainless steel electrode and a silver-silver chloride electrode in an argon atmosphere. Carbon dioxide was introduced to cool the electrons to thermal energy. Currents of between 50 and 200 vamps were employed. The organic compounds investigated fell into three principal classes whose structures contained either simple, conjugated, or no electrophores. The simple electrophores are exemplified by halogen or nitro substituents; conjugate electrophores are found among structures in which any of two specific groups, which are not necessarily electron absorbing, are linked by certain specific bridges. Compounds of the simple type investigated were halobenzenes and benzyl chloride. Halobenzenes produced as the principal products biphenyl and halo-substituted biphenyls. Benzyl chloride gave bibenzyl, cis- and trans-stilbene, and benzyl alcohol. Compounds of the conjugate type included esters of the Kreb's cycle di carboxylic acids, cis-stilbene and benzaldehyde. Non-electrophoric compounds such as cis- and trans-decalin produced decalones and decalols under similar conditions. Correlation of reaction products with proposed mechanisms confirm that simple electrophoric compounds react with thermal electrons in a dissociative manner, while conjugate electrophoric compounds react with thermal electrons in a non-dissociative manner.