Experimental conditions affecting the kinetics of aqueous HCN polymerization as revealed by UV-vis spectroscopy

Marin Yaseli, M. R., Moreno, M., De la Fuente, J. L., Briones, C., Ruiz Bermejo, M. 2018. Experimental conditions affecting the kinetics of aqueous HCN polymerization as revealed by UV-vis spectroscopy. Spectrochimica Acta Part A Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 191, 389-397, DOI: 10.1016/j.saa.2017.10.003

HCN polymerization is one of the most important and fascinating reactions in prebiotic chemistry, and interest in HCN polymers in the field of materials science is growing. However, little is known about the kinetics of the HCN polymerization process. In the present study, a first approach to the kinetics of two sets of aqueous HCN polymerizations, from NH4CN and NaCN, at middle temperatures between 4 and 38 degrees C, has been carried out. For each series, the presence of air and salts in the reaction medium has been systematically explored. A previous kinetic analysis was conducted during the conversion of the insoluble black HCN polymers obtained as gel fractions in these precipitation polymerizations for a reaction of one month, where a limit conversion was achieved at the highest polymerization temperature. The kinetic description of the gravimetric data for this complex system shows a clear change in the linear dependence with the polymerization temperature for the reaction from NH4CN, besides a relevant catalytic effect of ammonium, in comparison with those data obtained from the NaCN series. These results also demonstrated the notable influence of air, oxygen, and the saline medium in HCN polymer formation. Similar conclusions were reached when the sol fractions were monitored by UV-vis spectroscopy,. and a Hill type correlation was used to describe the polymerization profiles obtained. This technique was chosen because it provides an easy, prompt and fast method to follow the evolution of the liquid or continuous phase of the process under study. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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