The rates of tautomerization of 2-nitrocyclohexanone (2-NCH) have been measured spectrophotometrically at 25.0 ± 0.1 °C in several organic aprotic solvents and their binary mixtures. In cyclohexane the reaction is effectively catalyzed by bases and inhibited by acids while the so-called “spontaneous reaction” appears essentially due to autocatalysis. Apparent second order rate constants (kappB) for the reaction catalyzed by triethylamine (TEA) and pyridine (Pyr) have been obtained. From the experimental kappB values rate constants for the enolization (k1B) and ketonization (k-1B) reactions have been calculated. A Kamlet–Taft type linear solvation energy relationship (LSER) adequately accounts for the observed solvent effects. Activation parameters for both reactions show that solvent effects are mainly entropic in origin and that there is a shift of the transition state from a ketone-like to an enol-like structure on passing from less to more polar solvents.
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