ABSTRACT The intramolecular cyclization of 5-hexenyl radicals continues to be an important synthetic method for the construction of five-membered rings. The synthetic utility arises from the high degree of regioselectivity to give predominantly cyclopentyl products in high yield under mild conditions. Recently we reported product cyclization studies on 4-oxa perturbed 5-hexenyl radical. In this paper, we report our results from a computational study (UB3LYP and UCCSD (T)) of the cyclization of a series of 5-hexenyl and 3-and 4-oxa-5-hexenyl radicals. Three highly conserved cyclization tran-sitions states (exo-chair, exo-boat and endo-chair) were located for 10 acyclic radicals. Activation energies were calcu-lated for the three modes of cyclization for each radical. Calculated values for the exo/endo cyclization ratios had a high level of agreement with experiment and predictions were offered for two cases that have not been experimentally tested. The increased percentage of exo-cyclization with 3-and 4-oxa substitution is the result of an increase in the energy dif-ference between the exo-and endo-chair transition states compared to the hydrocarbon systems. The decreased rate of cyclization of the 4-oxa compounds is primarily due to the stabilization of the initial acyclic radical by the vinyl ether linkage. The increase in the rate of cyclization with 3-methyl substitution is due to the increased conformational energy of the starting acyclic radical.
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