Although it does so less readily than simple alkenes or dienes, benzene adds hydrogen at high pressure in the presence of Pt, Pd or Ni catalysts. The product is cyclohexane and the heat of reaction provides evidence of benzene's thermodynamic stability. Substituted benzene rings may also be reduced in this fashion, and hydroxy-substituted compounds, such as phenol, catechol and resorcinol, give carbonyl products resulting from the fast ketonization of intermediate enols. Nickel catalysts are often used for this purpose, as noted in the following equations.
Reduction of Nitro Groups and Aryl Ketones Substituents on Benzene Rings
Several alternative methods for reducing nitro groups to amines are known. These include zinc or tin in dilute mineral acid, and sodium sulfide in ammonium hydroxide solution. The procedures described above are sufficient for most cases.
The Birch Reduction
Another way of adding hydrogen to the benzene ring is by treatment with the electron rich solution of alkali metals, usually lithium or sodium, in liquid ammonia. See examples of this reaction, which is called the Birch Reduction. The Birch reduction is the dissolving-metal reduction of aromatic rings in the presence of an alcohol.
26. How would you make the following from benzene and an acid chloride?
Prof. Steven Farmer (Sonoma State University)
- Mario Morataya (UCD)