Cr(salophen) Complex Catalyzed Cyclic Carbonate Synthesis at Ambient Temperature and Pressure

José A. Castro-Osma*, Katie J. Lamb, Michael North

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The combination of a chromium(III) salophen bromide complex and tetrabutylammonium bromide is shown to catalyze the reaction between terminal epoxides and carbon dioxide at ambient temperature and 1 bar carbon dioxide pressure and between internal epoxides and carbon dioxide at 80 °C and 10 bar carbon dioxide pressure to form cyclic carbonates. The optimal conditions involve the use of 1.5-2.5 mol % of both the chromium(III) salophen bromide complex and tetrabutylammonium bromide and result in the formation of cyclic carbonates in 57-92% isolated yields after a reaction time of 24 h. Under these conditions, no polycarbonate formation is observed except when cyclohexene oxide is used as substrate. The reactions were found to proceed with retention of epoxide stereochemistry. A study of the reaction kinetics revealed that the chromium(III) complex and tetrabutylammonium bromide react together to form a six-coordinate anionic chromium complex which is the actual catalyst, and a catalytic cycle is proposed which explains the experimentally observed results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5012-5025
Number of pages14
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number8
Early online date1 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016, American Chemical Society. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details. Date of acceptance June 2016


  • carbon dioxide
  • chromium
  • cyclic carbonate
  • epoxide
  • salophen

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