Catalytic synthesis of organophosphate plastics additives from white phosphorus
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Triaryl phosphates were synthesized from white phosphorus and phenols in aerobic conditions and in the presence of iron catalysts and iodine. Full conversion to phosphates was achieved without the use of chlorine or chlorinated solvents, and the reactions do not produce acid waste. Triphenyl phosphate, tritolyl phosphate and tris(2,4-di-tert-butyl)phenyl phosphate were synthesized by this method with 100% conversion from P₄. Various iron(III) diketonates were used to catalyse the conversion. Mechanistic studies showed the reaction to proceed via the formation of phosphorus triiodide (PI₃), then diphenyl phosphoroiodidate (O=PI(OPh)₂) before the final formation of triphenyl phosphate (O=P(OPh)₃). The nucleophilic substitution of O=PI(OPh)₂ with phenol to form O=P(OPh)₃ was found to be the rate determining step. It was found that by modifying the reaction conditions the same catalytic systems could be used to synthesize triphenyl phosphite directly from P₄. Triphenyl phosphite was synthesized in selectivities of up to 60 %. The mechanism of these transformations was also elucidated. Independent syntheses of the intermediate in the reaction mechanism, O=P(OPh)₂I and its hydrolysis products diphenyl phosphate (O=P(OPh)₂OH) and tetraphenyl pyrophosphate ((O)P(OPh)₂-O-P(O)(OPh)₂) were developed from PI₃. The 2,4-di-tert-butyl phenol analogues of these compounds were also prepared. Bis-(2,4-di-tert-butylphenyl) phosphoroiodidate was then reacted with various alcohols to produce a series of mixed triorgano phosphates.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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