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South African Journal of Chemistry

versión On-line ISSN 1996-840X
versión impresa ISSN 0379-4350

S.Afr.j.chem. (Online) vol.64  Durban  2011




Microwave irradiation versus conventional heating in the synthesis of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone catalyzed by highly active copper powder



N.D. Jumbam*; L. Phuthuma; R. Ndebvu; T. Ngarivhume

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Walter Sisulu University, Private BagX1, WSU, 5117 Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa




A convenient one-pot synthesis of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone is achieved either by conventional heating or microwave irradiation. The intermediate N-methyl-4-hydroxybutyramide formed from the exothermic reaction of 7-butyrolactone with aqueous methylamine undergoes an intramolecular condensation reaction catalyzed by highly active copper powder to form the pyrrolidone in good yield.

Keywords: Copper catalyst, N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, methylamine, ϒ-butyrolactone, one-pot synthesis, microwave irradiation



Full text available only in pdf format.



We are grateful to the Directorate of Research Development at Walter Sisulu University for financial support.



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Submitted 7 March 2011
Revised 3 April 2011
Accepted 4 May 2011



Submitted by invitation to celebrate 2011 - the 'International Year of Chemistry
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

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