The English used in this article or section may not be easy for everybody to understand. (September 2011)
A rearrangement reaction are organic reactions where the carbon skeleton of a molecule is rearranged. The result is a structural isomer of the original molecule. Often a substituent moves from one atom to another atom in the same molecule. In the example below, the substituent R moves from carbon atom 1 to carbon atom 2:
Intermolecular rearrangements also take place.
Sometimes chemists draw diagrams with arrows that show how electrons are transferred between bonds during a rearrangement reaction. Many organic chemistry text books have such diagrams. But they do not tell the full story of the reaction mechanism. The actual mechanism of a rearrangement with an alkyl group moving is for the group to slide smoothly along a bond, not ionic bond-breaking and forming. One example of this is the Wagner-Meerwein rearrangement:
In pericyclic reactions, the orbital interactions are important. The reactions can not be explained by a series of simple discrete electron transfers. But, the curved arrows showing a sequence of discrete electron transfers can give the same result as a rearrangement reaction. Yet, the diagrams are not necessarily realistic. In allylic rearrangement, the reaction is ionic.
1,2-rearrangements[change | change source]
A 1,2-rearrangement is an organic reaction where a substituent moves from one atom to another atom in a chemical compound. In a 1,2 shift, the substituent moves between two adjacent atoms. But moves over larger distances are possible. Examples are the Wagner-Meerwein rearrangement:
and the Beckmann rearrangement:
Pericyclic reactions[change | change source]
A pericyclic reaction is a type of reaction with multiple carbon-carbon bond making and breaking. The transition state of the molecule has a cyclic geometry. The reaction progresses in a concerted fashion. Examples are hydride shifts
and the Claisen rearrangement: