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Iron-based catalyst shows promise for alkene hydrosilylations

By Scott Jenkins |

A catalyst in which iron atoms are complexed with the ligand pyridine diimine (PDI) has shown promise as a replacement for high-cost platinum-based catalysts for industrial olefin-hydrosilylation reactions. Developed by the research group of Paul Chirik at Princeton University (www. princeton.edu) and scientists at Momentive Performance Materials, Inc. (Waterford, N.Y.; www.momentive.com), the catalyst allows the selective reaction of tertiary silanes to alkenes in an inert atmosphere under mild conditions. The resulting alkylsilanes have several industrial uses, including silicone fluids for personal-care products and agricultural adjuvants. These catalysts may also find use in catalyzing the crosslinking of silicone release coatings and silicone elastomers. Two key features of the ligand allow its use in the context of a hydrosilylation catalyst. The PDI ligand offers steric protection of the metal center, explains Keith Weller, Momentive scientist, which allows the catalyst to be highly selective for anti-Markovnikov addition of the silane to the alkene. The second feature is that the ligand, as well as the metal center, can participate electronically in catalyzing the reaction. This allows the two-electron chemistry characteristic…
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