Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 1990, 55, 1149-1161

Anion effect on alkali ion-crown complex formation in a moderately concentrated solutions: A sensitive probe of hidden interionic interactions operating in dissociating protic solvents

Jiří Závada, Václav Pechanec and Oldřich Kocián

Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, 166 10 Prague 6


A powerful anion effect destabilizing alkali ion-crown complex formation has been found to operate in moderately concentrated protic (H2O, CH3OH, C2H5OH) solution, following the order HO- > AcO- > Cl- > Br- > NO3- > I- > NCS-. Evidence is provided that the observed effect does not originate from ion-pairing. A simple explanation is provided in terms of concordant hydrogen bond bridges of exalted stability between the gegenions, M+···OR-H···(OR-H)n···OR-H···A-. It is proposed that encapsulation of alkali ion by the macrocyclic ligand leads to a dissipation of the cation charge density destroying its ability to participate in the hydrogen bond bridge. An opposition against the alkali ion-crown complex formation arises accordingly in the solution in dependence on strength of the hydrogen bridge; for a given cation, the hydrogen bond strength increases with increasing anion charge density from NCS- to HO-(RO-). It is pointed out, at the same time, that the observed anion effect does not correlate with the known values of activity coefficients of the individual alkali salts which are almost insensitive to anion variation under the investigated conditions. As a resolution of the apparent paradoxon it is proposed that, in absence of the macrocyclic ligand, the stabilizing (concordant) bonding between the gegenions is nearly balanced by a destabilizing (discordant) hydrogen bonding between the ions of same charge (co-ions). Intrinsic differences among the individual salts are thus submerged in protic solvents and become apparent only when the concordant bonding is suppressed in the alkali ion-crown complex formation.