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Mechanism of the oxidation of ethylene by palladium(II)

Naturevolume 256pages635636 (1975) | Download Citation



THE oxidation of ethylene to acetaldehyde by aqueous palladium chloride forms the basis of the Wacker process. The kinetics and mechanism of this reaction have been extensively studied for ethylene and other olefins, and most authors assume that the formation of a cis hydroxoethylene–palladium complex is an essential step in the reaction1–4. We propose here a new mechanism by which the trans intermediate, [C2H4Pd(OH)Cl2], may directly yield the palladium σ-hydroxyalkyl species without the necessity of trans–cis isomerisation or the attachment of a fifth ligand.

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  1. Chemistry Department, Queen Elizabeth College, London, W8 7 AH, UK

    •  & ROGER C. SLADE


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