Aluminum with fluorinated ligands

Rupert Spence
Novacor Chemicals Ltd., Calgary, Alberta

Chemical & Engineering News (20 May 1996) Vol. 74, No. 21, pp. 4.

Aluminum compounds with perfluorophenol substituents have been identified as potentially explosive [Organometallics, 10, 1917 (1991)]. I wish to communicate my experience as well as that of my colleagues.

Adding 1,4-tetrafluorodihydroquinone (1 mol equivalent) in toluene to a toluene solution of trimethyl aluminum (1.1 mol equivalents) resulted in a gel-like reaction mixture. Filtration and drying gave a white solid that was isolated in a nitrogen-filled glove box. A 50-mg sample of this solid detonated violently when pressed gently between a stainless-steel spatula and a glass surface. Fortunately, no one was hurt in this incident.

Tris(pentafluorophenyl)aluminum etherate has been reported to be explosive when heated [Naturforschg., 20b, 5 (1965)]. Clearly, extreme caution should be used when handling compounds of aluminum with fluorinated ligands.

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