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An Analysis of the Effectiveness of Computer Assisted Instruction in General Chemistry at an Urban University.

Description: The science-major General Chemistry sequence offered at the University of Houston has been investigated with respect to the effectiveness of recent incorporation of various levels of computer technology. As part of this investigation, questionnaire responses, student evaluations and grade averages and distributions from up to the last ten years have been analyzed and compared. Increased use of web-based material is both popular and effective, particularly with respect to providing extra information and supplemental questions. Instructor contact via e-mail is also well-received. Both uses of technology should be encouraged. In contrast, electronic classroom presentation is less popular. While initial use may lead to improved grades and retention, these levels decrease quickly, possibly due to a reduction in instructor spontaneity.
Date: May 2002
Creator: McGuffey, Angela

A Computational Study on 18+δ Organometallics

Description: The B3LYP density functional has been used to calculate properties of organometallic complexes of Co(CO)3 and ReBr(CO)3, with the chelating ligand 2,3-bisphosphinomaleic anhydride, in 19- and 18-electron forms. The SBKJC-21G effective core potential and associated basis set was used for metals (Co/Re) and the 6-31G* basis set was used for all other elements. The differences of bond angles, bond distances, natural atomic charges and IR vibrational frequencies were compared with the available experimental parameters. The differences between the 19- and 18-electron systems have been analyzed. The results reveal that the 19th electron is mostly distributed over the ligand of 2,3-bisphosphinomaleic anhydride, although partially localized onto the metal fragment in 1 and 2*. Two different methods, IR-frequencies and natural atomic charges, were used to determine the value of δ. Present computed values of δ are compared with available experimental values, and predictions are made for unknown complexes.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Yu, Liwen

Fluorination Effect on the Conformational Properties of Alkanes

Description: A Series of fluorophores of the general formular P(CF2)nP and P(CF2)n-1CF3 has been synthesized. Copper catalyzed coupling of 1-bromopyrene and the corresponding mono and di-iodoperfluoroalkanes were used in most cases. For the n=3 dimer, a novel 1,w-perfluoroalkylation of pyrene via bis-decarboxylation of hexafluorogultaric acid was utilized. These compounds, along with suitable hydrocarbon analogs, are being used to study the flexibility of fluorocarbon chains using emission. We have found that the excimer formation for the fluorinated pyrene monomers is highly dependent on concentration and is less efficient than for pyene. Excimer formation for the fluorinated pyrene dimers is much more efficient than for the fluorocarbon monomers and is only slightly concentraion dependent. Steady-state emission spectra indicate hydrocarbon dimers-models form excimers more efficiently than the fluorinated dimers suggesting the fluorinated chains are stiffer than the hydrocarbons. We conducted the temperature-dependent studies and quantified the conformational difference.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Xu, Wenjian

Investigations of Thermochemistry and the Kinetics of H Atom Radical Reactions

Description: The thermochemistry of several species, and the kinetics of various H atom radical reactions relevant to atmospheric and combustion chemistry were investigated using ab initio theoretical techniques and the flash photolysis / resonance fluorescence technique. Using ab initio quantum mechanical calculations up to the G3 level of theory, the C-H bond strengths of several alkanes were calculated. The bond strengths were calculated using two working reactions. From the results, it is apparent that the bond strengths decrease as methyl groups are added to the central carbon. The results are in good agreement with recent experimental halogenation kinetic studies. Hydrogen bond strengths with sulfur and oxygen were studied via CCSD(T) theory, together with extrapolation to the complete basis set limit. The results for the bond dissociation energies (ground state at 0 K, units: kJ mol-1) are: S-H = 349.9, S-D = 354.7, HS-H = 376.2, DS-D = 383.4, and HO-H = 492.6. These data compare well with experimental literature. The rate constants for the isotopic reactions of H + H2S, D + H2S, H + D2S, and D + D2S are studied at the QCISD(T)/6-311+G(3df,2p) level of theory. The contributions of the exchange reaction versus abstraction are examined through transition state theory. The energy of NS was computed via CCSD(T) theory, together with extrapolation to the complete basis set limit. The results were employed with three working reactions to find ΔfH0(NS) = 277.3 ± 2 kJ mol-1 and ΔfH298(NS) = 278.0 ± 2 kJ mol-1. This thermochemistry is consistent with, but much more precise than, earlier literature values. A kinetic study of the reaction of H + CH2CCl2 was conducted over the temperature range of 298 - 680 K. The reaction was found to be pressure dependent and results of the rate constants and their interpretation via unimolecular rate theory are ...
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Date: December 2002
Creator: Peebles, Lynda Renee

Kinetic Studies of Hydroxyl and Hydrogen Atom Reactions

Description: Gas phase kinetics of the reactions involving hydroxyl radical and hydrogen atom were studied using experimental and ab initio theoretical techniques. The rate constant for the H + H2S reaction has been measured from 298 to 598 K by the laser photolysis/resonance fluorescence (LP-RF) technique. The transition state theory (TST) analysis coupled with the measurements support the suggestion that the reaction shows significant curvature in the Arrhenius plot. The LP-RF technique was also used to measure the rate constant of the H + CH3Br reaction over the temperature range 400-813 K. TST and density functional theory (DFT) calculations show that the dominant reaction channel is Br-abstraction. The reaction H + CF2=CF-CF=CF2 was first studied by flash photolysis/resonance fluorescence (FP-RF) method. The experiments of this work revealed distinctly non-Arrhenius behavior, which was interpreted in terms of a change in mechanism. DFT calculations suggest that the adduct is CF2H-CF•-CF=CF2. At lower temperatures a mixture of this molecule and CF2•-CFH-CF=CF2 is likely. The theoretical calculations show that H atom migrates in the fluoroethyl radicals through a bridging intermediate, and the barrier height for this process is lower in the less fluorinated ethyl radical. High level computations were also employed in studies of the rate constants of OH + chloroethylenes reactions. VTST calculations indicate that, except the reaction of OH + C2Cl4, these reactions present a complex behavior. For OH + C2Cl4, conventional TST calculation shows a simple positive temperature-dependence behavior.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Hu, Xiaohua

Layered Double Hydroxides: Morphology, Interlayer Anion, and the Origins of Life

Description: The preparation of layered double hydroxides via co-precipitation of a divalent/trivalent metal solution against a base results in 1 mm LDH particles with a disorganized metal lattice. Research was performed to address these morphological issues using techniques such as Ostwald ripening and precipitation via aluminate. Another interesting issue in layered double hydroxide materials is the uptake and orientation of anions into the interlayer. Questions about iron cyanide interlayer anions have been posed. Fourier transform infared spectroscopy and powder x-ray diffraction have been used to investigate these topics. It was found that factors such as orientation, anion charge, and anion structure depended on the divalent/trivalent metal ratio of the hydroxide layer and reactivity time. The cyanide self-addition reaction is an important reaction of classical prebiotic chemistry. This reaction has been shown to give rise to amino acids, purines and pyrimidines. At cyanide concentrations similar to that expected on the early earth, hydrolysis to formamide rather than self-addition occurs. One theory to alleviate this side reaction is the use of minerals or clays that are thought to concentrate and catalyze prebiotics of interest. Layered double hydroxides have been studied as a catalyst for this reaction.
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Date: December 2002
Creator: Halcom-Yarberry, Faith Marie

NMR Study of n-Propyllithium Aggregates

Description: A variable temperature 1H, 13C, and 6Li NMR study of n-propyl-6Li-lithium showed five different aggregates, similar to that in the literature as (RLi)n, n= 6, 8, 9, 9, 9. There were also a number of additional new species, identified as lithium hydride containing aggregates. Unexpectedly, a series of 13C{1H} 1-D NMR experiments with selective 6Li decoupling showed evidence for 13C-6Li spin-spin coupling between the previously reported (RLi)n aggregates and various hydride species.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Davis, James W.

Synthesis of Crown Ether/Ammonium Salt for Electron Transfer Study

Description: The theoretical model of Beratan and Onuchic predicts a large attenuation of ET rates through hydrogen bonds; however, the effect of individual hydrogen bond on electron transfer reaction has not been systematically studied. The organic complexes in this study are a series of crown ether/ammonium salt, which incorporate a redox partner on each component of the complex. The dimethoxynaphthalene redox donor was attached to the crown ether and a series of ammonium salts was synthesized which bear substituted quinone and naphthoquinone acceptor. The complexes characterization and preliminary electron transfer rate measurement were completed with UV/Vis and steady-state emission spectroscopy.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Han, Dong