Understanding the solubilization of Ca acetylide with a new computational model for ionic pairs†
The unique reactivity of the acetylenic unit in DMSO gives rise to ubiquitous synthetic methods. We theoretically consider CaC2 solubility and protolysis in DMSO and formulate a strategy for CaC2 activation in solution-phase chemical transformations. For this, we use a new strategy for the modeling of ionic compounds in strongly coordinating solvents combining Born–Oppenheimer molecular dynamics with the DFTB3-D3(BJ) Hamiltonian and static DFT computations at the PBE0-D3(BJ)/pob-TZVP-gCP level. We modeled the thermodynamics of CaC2 protolysis under ambient conditions, taking into account its known heterogeneity and considering three polymorphs of CaC2. We give a theoretical basis for the existence of the elusive intermediate HCC–Ca–OH and show that CaC2 insolubility in DMSO is of thermodynamic nature. We confirm the unique role of water and specific properties of DMSO in CaC2 activation and explain how the activation is realized. The proposed strategy for the utilization of CaC2 in sustainable organic synthesis is outlined.