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Sandmeyer isatin synthesis - tarry material?

  1. Apr 2, 2013 #1
    Hey everyone!

    I am currently working on a project regarding the synthesis of variously substituted isatins using the Sandmeyer methodology, involving the condensation of chloral hydrate, hydroxylamine and substituted aniline (in this case the 4-ethylaniline) to nitrosoacetanilide with following cyclization under strongly acidic conditions to give the isatin.


    However, I seem to be stuck on the condensation reaction due to the prevalent formation of a tarry material which I have been unable to wash off, and which seems to cause problems in the cyclization-step, giving lower yields of sticky, impure product. If I follow the synthesis described in the following preparation: http://www.orgsyn.org/orgsyn/orgsyn/prepContent.asp?prep=cv1p0327, I get an immediate formation of insoluble creme/brownish crystals upon addition of the aniline, which i assume is the aniline sulfate. However, after heating of the reaction mixture, the tar seems to form on/in the crystals. How can I prevent the precipitation of the aniline sulfate, to allow the acetanilide to precipitate, and could the precipitation of the aniline sulfate be the cause of the tarry compound?

    The reaction takes place in a roundbottomed flask at 60-80°C (oil bath + internal thermometer) with magnetic stirring for 2-2,5 hours. I use TLC to moniter the reaction (EtOAc/heptane 1:1) which consistently shows the formation of 2 products with the complete conversion of the aniline.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2013 #2


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    Describe the aniline solution you used and how long did you heat it before it boiled? What color was the aniline you used? Did you use the anhydrous sodium sulfate or the hydrate?
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
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