P665: Undergraduate student exploration of parameters affecting substitution, elimination, and solvolysis reactions
Substitution, elimination, and solvolysis reactions are fundamental processes in Organic Chemistry, and earning an understanding of their differences is a significant challenge for students in the first semester of the sophomore-level course. A matrix of reactions was developed to highlight the effects of temperature, nucleophilicity, basicity, solvent, and leaving group position on the favorability of each of these mechanism pathways. Implementing several reactions in each laboratory class, analyzing the reactions using TLC and GC/MS, and facilitating the collection of these results using a web-based form will give students access to a large, authentic data set. Through the comparison of product data, consistent and inconsistent data points can be identified, and conclusions regarding the importance of each parameter can be made. The class-wide investigation aims to demonstrate the principles of reactivity first-hand and foster a deeper understanding of these essential reaction types than can be accomplished through study on paper alone.