Alternatives for Conventional Alkane Solvents. Academic Article uri icon


  • The studies described in this paper show that hydrocarbon oligomers are alternatives for low molecular weight alkane solvents. These oligomeric solvents are nontoxic, nonvolatile, and recyclable alternatives to heptane in thermomorphic solvent mixtures that use a polar solvent such as methanol, aqueous ethanol, or DMF or in biphasic mixtures that use acetonitrile. Regardless of which polar solvent is used, hydrocarbon oligomers like poly(-olefin)s (PAOs) exhibit very low leaching into the polar phase. UV-visible spectroscopy studies show that these solvents have the solubility properties of heptane. For example, PAOs dissolve heptane soluble dyes and quantitatively separate them from polar phases in thermomorphic solvent mixtures. PAOs either as pure solvents or as additives in heptane act as antileaching agents, decreasing the already low leaching of such dyes into a polar phase in heptane/polar solvent mixtures. These oligomeric hydrocarbon solvents were also compared to heptane in studies of azo dye isomerization. The results show that thermal isomerization of an azo dye occurs at the same rate in heptane and a PAO. Further studies of carboxylic acid promoted dye isomerization in heptane and a PAO show that low molecular weight and oligomeric carboxylic acids are kinetically equivalent at accelerating this isomerization. The results suggest that these and other hydrocarbon oligomers behave as solvents like their low molecular weight nonpolar hydrocarbon solvents and that they can be substituted successfully for conventional solvents like heptane.

published proceedings

  • J Am Chem Soc

altmetric score

  • 2.1

author list (cited authors)

  • Harrell, M. L., Malinski, T., Torres-Lpez, C., Gonzalez, K., Suriboot, J., & Bergbreiter, D. E.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Harrell, Mary L||Malinski, Thomas||Torres-L√≥pez, Coralys||Gonzalez, Kimberly||Suriboot, Jakkrit||Bergbreiter, David E

publication date

  • November 2016