We demonstrate that the species present in the equilibrium of DCv ureas can be employed in reaction cascades and as triggered organocatalysts. Easily controllable stimuli like heat or addition of water shift the equilibrium towards isocyanate and free base which can function as an in situ released reagent, both catalytically and in an equimolar fashion in different reactions. While applying heat to the system leads to a reversible liberation of amine base, addition of water makes this release irreversible. We demonstrate this application of DCv ureas with two examples via 1H-NMR spectroscopy. Firstly, we use the liberated base to activate a protected organocatalyst for acylhydrazone formation. Secondly, this base can be employed to trigger the release of nitrile-N-oxides from chlorooximes, which can react with 4-arm PEG-thiols to form a thiohydroximate polymer gel. These findings show the utility of DCv hindered ureas beyond their application in self-healing.
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DCv urea catalysis S.I. ChemRXiv