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Bulletin of the Korean Chemical Society (BKCS)

ISSN 0253-2964(Print)
ISSN 1229-5949(Online)
Volume 8, Number 4
April 20, 1987 

Reducing Characteristics of Potassium Triethylborohydride
Nung Min Yoon, H.S. Yang, Y.S. Hwang
The approximate rates, stoichiometries and products of the reaction of potassium triethylborohydride (KEt3BH) with selected organic compounds containing representative functional groups under the standard condition (0℃, THF) were examined in order to explore the reducing characteristics of this reagent as a selective reducing agent. Primary alcohols, phenols and thiols evolve hydrogen rapidly whereas secondary and tertiary alcohols evolve very slowly. n-Hexylamine is inert to this reagent. Aldehydes and ketones are reduced rapidly and quantitatively to the corresponding alcohols. Reduction of noncamphor gives 3% exo- and 97% endo-norboneol. Anthraquinone is cleanly reduced to 9,10-dihydro-9,10-dihydroxyanthracene stage. Carboxylic acids liberate hydrogen rapidly and quantitatively but further reduction does not occur. Anhydrides utilize 2 equiv of hydride to give an equimolar mixture of acid and alcohol. Acid chlorides, esters and lactones are rapidly and quantitatively reduced to the corresponding alcohols. Epoxides are reduced at moderate rates with Markovnikov ring opening to give the more substituted alcohols. Primary amides liberate 1 equiv of hydrogen rapidly. Further reduction of caproamide is slow whereas benzamide is not reduced. Tertiary amides are reduced slowly. Benzonitrile utilizes 2 equiv of hydride in 3 h to go to the amine stage whereas capronitrile takes only 1 equiv. The reaction of nitro compounds undergo rapidly whereas azobenzene and azoxybenzene are reduced slowly. Cyclohexanone oxime rapidly evolves hydrogen without reduction. Phenyl isocyanate utilizes 1 equiv of hydride to proceed to formanilide stage. Pyridine N-oxide and pyridine is reduced rapidly. Disulfides are rapidly reduced to the thiol stage whereas sulfoxide, sulfonic acid are practically inert to this reagent. Sulfones and cyclohexyl tosylate are slowly reduced. Octyl bromide is reduced rapidly but octyl chloride and cyclohexyl bromide are reduced slowly.
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