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Friday, August 19, 2005

Recent advances in solventless organic reactions: towards benign synthesis with remarkable versatility

Recently there has been a paradigm shift away from using solvents in organic synthesis as solventless reactions can lead to improved outcomes, and more benign synthetic procedures, in for example an aldol condensation reaction as shown above. Sustainability is increasingly an important issue in broader context when you are talking about health, energy, and the sciences. Removing organic solvents in chemical synthesis is important in the drive towards benign chemical technologies. Organic solvents are high on the list of toxic compounds due to the problems in containing volatile compounds and the sheer large volume of them used in industry.
Some advantages of utilizing solventless reactions are that the compounds are often sufficiently pure to avoid extensive purification using chromatography, the reactions can be rapid, often reaching substantial completion in several minutes compared to hours in organic solvents, and the energy usage can be much lower.

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