Organic Chemistry

Learn the toughest concepts covered in Organic Chemistry with step-by-step video tutorials and practice problems by world-class tutors.

8. Elimination Reactions

SN1 SN2 E1 E2 Chart (Big Daddy Flowchart)

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Here is the best flowchart you’ll ever learn in your life. Seriously.

 

Professors rarely tell you which mechanisms to use. Instead, they’ll give you a set of reagents and ask you to figure it out yourself. This flowchart basically explains that entire process. Let’s go! 

Determining Mechanisms

When do you use this flowchart? Whenever you have a nucleophile and a GOOD leaving group. 

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Overview of the flowchart.

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In general, the left side of the flowchart predicts SN2 /E2 mechanisms, and the right side predicts SN1/E1 mechanisms, but there are exceptions.

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concept

How to predict SN2 and E2 mechanisms.

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Here is a list of some more bulky bases that some professors like to use. Be aware that this is not a comprehensive list! 

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You may also see NaNHand NaH (small, non-nucleophilic bases) react via an E2 for primary leaving groups, so keep that in mind! 

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concept

How to predict SN1 and E1 mechanisms.

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