When $\ce{HBr}$ is added to 2-chloro-2-butene, the proton preferentially bonds to the $sp^2$ carbon that's not bonded to chlorine. Does this mean that hyperconjugation takes place between the lone pairs of chlorine and the positively charged $C3$? I would assume that since there is still a free rotation about the $\ce{C-Cl}$ bond and that chlorine is in a tetrahedral formation this would be the reason behind the regioselectivity.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The positive charge (in the intermediate) formed on C2 is stabilized by resonance with the lone pairs of chlorine. $\endgroup$ – Apoorv Potnis Feb 28 '18 at 6:07

Hyperconjuation is the interaction of electrons in sigma orbitals (in $C-H$ or $C-C$) with an adjacent empty p orbital or $\pi$ orbital. What you are describing is not hyperconjugation, but resonance; more specifically, the chlorine shows the $+R$ effect.

Now if you draw the resonance structures of this molecule you will realize that the $C_3$ has a negative charge on it in one canonical form. This means, in the actual molecule, that $C_3$ carbon has a partial negative charge, which is why the hydrogen from $HBr$ preferentially bonds to that carbon.

A more acceptable explanation would be that, when the hydrogen bonds to $C_3$, the resultant intermediate carbocation (positive charge on $C_2$) is stabilized by the $+R$ effect of chlorine, resulting in a racemic mixture of $2-bromo-2-chlorobutane$ to form as the major product.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.