Exploring the Role of Solvent Polarity in Mechanochemical Knoevenagel Condensation: In-situ Tracking and Isolation of Reaction Intermediates

21 June 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Mechanochemistry has proven to be a highly effective method for the synthesis of organic compounds. We studied the kinetics of the catalyst-free Knoevenagel reaction between 4-nitrobenzaldehyde and malononitrile, activated and driven by ball milling. The reaction was investigated in the absence of solvents (neat grinding) and in the presence of solvents with different polarities (liquid-assisted grinding). The reaction was monitored using time-resolved in-situ Raman spectroscopy and powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD). Our results indicate a direct relationship between solvent polarity and reaction kinetics, with higher solvent polarity leading to faster product (2-(4-nitrobenzylidone)malononitrile) formation. For the first time, we were able to isolate and determine the structure of an intermediate 2-(hydroxy(4-nitrophenyl)methyl)malononitrile based on PXRD data


in situ

Supplementary materials

Contains Rietveld refinements Crystallographic data Kinetic plots for the Knoevenagel reaction


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.