Reactions of Benzyl Compounds with Synthesis Gas in the Presence of Ruthenium Carbonyl Iodides

Simon G. Hardin, Terence W. Turney

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Benzyl compounds, PhCH2X (X = OH, OCH2Ph, OMe, OAc), react with CO/H2 mixtures at 9-10 MPa and 220°C in the presence of aqueous HI and [Ru(CO)3I2]2 to afford toluene, HX and polymers of the type H(C7H6)„H (n = 2-6). The mechanism involves the initial dehydration of PhCH2OH to (PhCH2)20 which disproportionates to toluene and benzaldehyde. Ruthenium, present mainly as [Ru(CO)3I3]_ and cis-Ru(CO)4I2, catalyses reduction of benzaldehyde back to benzyl alcohol or the production of polymers. The significance of these results to toluene formation in benzyl alcohol homologation reactions is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1599-1608
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Chemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1982
Externally publishedYes

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