Current Research Interests of Kurt Birdwhistell’s group
applying the principles of Green Chemistry to design new
“Environmentally Benign” synthetic pathways to inorganic
and organic molecules. Green chemistry involves the
application of a set of principles to reduce or eliminate
hazardous materials in the synthesis of chemical products.
The ultimate goal of “Green Chemistry” is a sustainable
Our current projects in “Green Chemistry” involve the application of four synthetic strategies:
Reducing the energy requirements of reactions by applying
Microwave Assisted Synthesis (MAS).
2. Eliminating organic solvents in synthetic reactions by using an environmentally benign solvent such as water.
3. Replacing hazardous mineral acids such as sulfuric or phosphoric acid with safer solid acid alternatives.
4. Designing new water-soluble catalysts for the replacement of catalysts normally used in organic solvents.
1. Biphasic Phase Transfer Catalysis Using Microwave Assisted Synthesis.
Presentation On Biphasic Phase Transfer Catalysis from Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference June 2009
2. Application of Green Chemistry principles to the synthesis of Acetylferrocene
Below is an example of the application of
green chemistry principles to the synthesis of an important
organometallic compound, acetylferrocene.
the example (to the left) we were able to replace the
mineral acid, phosphoric acid, with the
safer polymeric acid Amberlyst
15 (a polymeric sulfonic acid). This replacement allows us
reduce the waste stream created
by neutralization of the mineral acid.
2. This reaction is an example of a solventless reaction where the reactant acetic anhydride acts as the solvent; thus reducing solvent usage and waste.
3. Using microwave instead of thermal heating prevents the formation of the tarry byproduct which is commonly observed when phosphoric acid is utilized. The microwave energy does not increase the reaction rate in this example, but results in a cleaner, more selective product formation.
at ACS meeting Spring 2008 on Ferrocene Acylation using
The above material is based upon work supported by the
National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0535957. Any
opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations
expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and
do not necessarily reflect the views of the National
Science Foundation (NSF).