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Mechanistic studies of one-electron reduced bipyridine reactions relevant to carbon dioxide sequestration

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Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have

Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have been suggested, perhaps the most promising of these is based on electrochemical trapping of carbon dioxide using pyridine and derivatives. Optimization of this process requires a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of the reactions of reduced pyridines with carbon dioxide, which are not currently well known. This thesis describes a detailed mechanistic study of the nucleophilic and Bronsted basic properties of the radical anion of bipyridine as a model pyridine derivative, formed by one-electron reduction, with particular emphasis on the reactions with carbon dioxide. A time-resolved spectroscopic method was used to characterize the key intermediates and determine the kinetics of the reactions of the radical anion and its protonated radical form. Using a pulsed nanosecond laser, the bipyridine radical anion could be generated in-situ in less than 100 ns, which allows fast reactions to be monitored in real time. The bipyridine radical anion was found to be a very powerful one-electron donor, Bronsted base and nucleophile. It reacts by addition to the C=O bonds of ketones with a bimolecular rate constant around 1* 107 M-1 s-1. These are among the fastest nucleophilic additions that have been reported in literature. Temperature dependence studies demonstrate very low activation energies and large Arrhenius pre-exponential parameters, consistent with very high reactivity. The kinetics of E2 elimination, where the radical anion acts as a base, and SN2 substitution, where the radical anion acts as a nucleophile, are also characterized by large bimolecular rate constants in the range ca. 106 - 107 M-1 s-1. The pKa of the bipyridine radical anion was measured using a kinetic method and analysis of the data using a Marcus theory model for proton transfer. The bipyridine radical anion is found to have a pKa of 40±5 in DMSO. The reorganization energy for the proton transfer reaction was found to be 70±5 kJ/mol. The bipyridine radical anion was found to react very rapidly with carbon dioxide, with a bimolecular rate constant of 1* 108 M-1 s-1 and a small activation energy, whereas the protonated radical reacted with carbon dioxide with a rate constant that was too small to measure. The kinetic and thermodynamic data obtained in this work can be used to understand the mechanisms of the reactions of pyridines with carbon dioxide under reducing conditions.

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2015

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A new class of solid state, single-ion conductors (H+ and Li+): silicon-based plastic crystals

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Plastic crystals as a class are of much interest in applications as solid state electrolytes for electrochemical energy conversion devices. A subclass exhibit very high protonic conductivity and its members have been investigated as possible fuel cell electrolytes, as first

Plastic crystals as a class are of much interest in applications as solid state electrolytes for electrochemical energy conversion devices. A subclass exhibit very high protonic conductivity and its members have been investigated as possible fuel cell electrolytes, as first demonstrated by Haile’s group in 2001 with CsHSO4. To date these have been inorganic compounds with tetrahedral oxyanions carrying one or more protons, charge-balanced by large alkali cations. Above the rotator phase transition, the HXO4- anions re-orient at a rate dependent on temperature while the centers of mass remain ordered. The transition is accompanied by a conductivity "jump" (as much as four orders of magnitude, to ~ 10 mScm-1 in the now-classic case of CsHSO4) due to mobile protons. These superprotonic plastic crystals bring a “true solid state” alternative to polymer electrolytes, operating at mild temperatures (150-200ºC) without the requirement of humidification. This work describes a new class of solid acids based on silicon, which are of general interest. Its members have extraordinary conductivities, as high as 21.5 mS/cm at room temperature, orders of magnitude above any previous reported case. Three fuel cells are demonstrated, delivering current densities as high as 225 mA/cm2 at short-circuit at 130ºC in one example and 640 mA/cm2 at 87ºC in another. The new compounds are insoluble in water, and their remarkably high conductivities over a wide temperature range allow for lower temperature operations, thus reducing the risk of hydrogen sulfide formation and dehydration reactions. Additionally, plastic crystals have highly advantageous properties that permit their application as solid state electrolytes in lithium batteries. So far only doped materials have been presented. This work presents for the first time non-doped plastic crystals in which the lithium ions are integral part of the structure, as a solid state electrolyte. The new electrolytes have conductivities of 3 to 10 mS/cm at room temperature, and in one example maintain a highly conductive state at temperatures as low as -30oC. The malleability of the materials and single ion conducting properties make these materials highly interesting candidates as a novel class of solid state lithium conductors.

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2016