Combustion and Flame, Vol.213, 302-313, 2020
Conversion of acenaphthalene to phenalene via methylation: A theoretical study
Ab initio calculations of the C13H10 and C13H9 potential energy surfaces related to the reaction of 1-acenaphthyl and methyl radicals and secondary isomerization of C13H9 primary radical products have been performed at the chemically accurate G3(MP2,CC)//B3LYP/6-311G** level of theory to unravel the mechanism of conversion of acenaphthalene to phenalene or phenalenyl radical + H. The computed energetics and molecular parameters were utilized in Rice-Ramsperger-Kassel-Marcus Master Equation (RRKM-ME) calculations of reaction rate constants and relative product yields. The 1-acenaphthyl + CH3 reaction is predicted to proceed by a fast radical-radical recombination mechanism and to predominantly produce collisionally stabilized 1-methylacenaphthalene B1 or a C13H9 benzylic radical A1 + H with exothermicities of 106.8 and 25.2 kcal/mol, respectively. The A1 + H channel is preferable at higher temperatures, whereas the stabilization of 1-methylacenaphthalene is favored at higher pressures. The radical A1 can nearly irreversibly interconvert to phenalenyl radical AP via a 22.7 kcal/mol exothermic isomerization process involving formal insertion of the CH2 group into a C-C bond of the five-member ring leading to the expansion of this ring to a six-member ring. The rate constants for the H addition reaction to phenalenyl radical to form phenalene and the reverse H loss from phenalene were also computed and the strength of the weakest C-H bond in the CH2 group of phenalene is evaluated as 62.2 kcal/mol. The analysis of the reaction kinetics allowed us to deduce a mechanism for the conversion of 1-acenaphthyl radical to phenalene or phenalenyl radical + H via methylation involving the formation of A1 via a well-skipping channel or stabilization and dissociation of (or H abstraction from) B1 followed by isomerization of A1 to phenalenyl AP, which can add an H atom producing phenalene. Rate constants for the significant elementary reactions are fitted to modified Arrhenius expressions and are proposed for kinetic modeling of the expansion of a five-member ring on a zigzag edge of PAH to a six-member ring by methylation. (C) 2019 The Combustion Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.