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Sonochemistry I. Effects of Ultrasounds On Heterogeneous Chemical Reactions - a Useful Tool To Generate Radicals and To Examine Reaction Mechanisms

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Application of ultrasound to a system that contains at least one liquid phase produces microscopic bubbles in the liquid which undergo periodic expansions and contractions. Some of these microbubbles eventually destabilize and collapse violently, generating temperatures in the thousands of degrees Kelvin and pressures in the hundreds of atmospheres. This phenomenon, known as cavitational implosion, favors the production of free solvent radicals that react amongst themselves and with other substrates in the system. In addition, ultrasound accelerates reactions that involve single electron transfers but seems to have no effect on reactions that proceed via ionic mechanisms for reasons that remain unclear. In practical terms, ultrasound allows the synthesis of novel compounds as well as the improved preparations of standard compounds. Sonication is more than just more efficient stirring. The high temperatures produced on cavitation, both in the cavity and at the interface, could lead to molecular combustion of the substrate and of the solvent to form radical species which could then initiate reactions.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Pure and Applied Studies in Catalysis, Environment and Materials, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Concordia University, Montreal, Que., CANADA H3G IM8


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