Adolf von Baeyer
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Quotes about Baeyer
- Chemists in the late 1800s knew that cyclic molecules existed, but the limitations on ring size were unclear. Although numerous compounds containing five-membered and six-membered rings were known, smaller and larger ring sizes had not been prepared, despite many efforts.
A theoretical interpretation of this observation was proposed in 1885 by Adolf von Baeyer, who suggested that small and large rings might be unstable due to angle strain. … The data … show that Baeyer’s theory is only partially correct. Cyclopropane and cyclobutane are indeed strained, just as predicted, but cyclopentane is more strained than predicted, and cyclohexane is strain-free. Cycloalkanes of intermediate size have only modest strain, and rings of 14 carbons or more are strain-free. Why is Baeyer’s theory wrong? Baeyer’s theory is wrong for the simple reason that he assumed all cycloalkanes to be flat.
- John McMurry, Organic Chemistry 8th ed. (2012), Ch. 4: Organic Compounds: Cycloalkanes and Their Stereochemistry