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Pure Appl. Chem., 2013, Vol. 85, No. 1, pp. 89-103

Published online 2012-08-10

Organic chemistry under hydrothermal conditions

Sabine Avola1, Marie Guillot2,3, Denilson da Silva-Perez2, Stephane Pellet-Rostaing3, Werner Kunz1* and Frédéric Goettmann4*

1 Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, University of Regensburg, D‑93040 Regensburg, Germany
2 FCBA/Pôle Nouveaux Matériaux, Domaine Universitaire, BP 251 38044 Grenoble Cedex, France
3 Laboratoire de Tri Ionique par les Systemes Moléculaires Auto-assemblés, Institut de Chimie Séparative de Marcoule (ICSM, UMR5257), Centre de Marcoule, 30207 Bagnols/Ceze, France
4 Laboratoire de Chimie des Fluides Complexes et Irradiation, DEN/MAR/DTCD/SPDE/LCFI, Centre de Marcoule, 30207 Bagnols/Ceze, France

Abstract: At elevated temperature, several properties of water are strongly altered compared to what our daily experience tells us: the dielectric constant of water, for example, is reduced, so that water can more easily solubilize organic molecules. In addition, the self-dissociation constant of water is increased (by three orders of magnitude at 250 °C), thus favoring H+- and OH-catalyzed reactions. Surprisingly, while room-temperature water and supercritical water (SCW) are well known for promoting organic reactions, the middle temperature range still remains largely unexplored. Therefore, this contribution aims at giving an overview of organic reactions that may be promoted by superheated water.