Ab initio calculation of transition state normal mode properties and rate constants for the H(T)+CH4(CD4) abstraction and exchange reactions

George C. Schatz, Stephen P. Walch, Albert F. Wagner

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44 Citations (Scopus)


We present ab initio (GVB-POL-CI) calculations for enough of the region about the abstraction and exchange saddle points for H(T) + CH 4(CD4) to perform a full normal mode analysis of the transition states. The resulting normal mode frequencies are compared to four other published surfaces: an ab initio UHF-SCF calculation by Carsky and Zahradnik, a semiempirical surface by Raff, and two semiempirical surfaces by Kurylo, Hollinden, and Timmons. Significant quantitative and qualitative differences exist between the POL-CI results and those of the other surfaces. Transition state theory rate constants and vibrationally adiabatic reaction threshold energies were computed for all surfaces and compared to available experimental values. For abstraction, the POL-CI rates are in good agreement with experimental rates and in better agreement than are the rates of any of the other surfaces. For exchange, uncertainties in the experimental values and in the importance of vibrationally nonadiabatic effects cloud the comparison of theory to experiment. Tentative conclusions are that the POL-CI barrier is too low by several kcal. Unless vibrationaly nonadiabatic effects are severe, the POL-CI surface is still in better agreement with experiment than are the other surfaces. The rates for a simple 3-atom transition state theory model (where CH3 is treated as an atom) are compared to the rates for the full 6-atom model. The kinetic energy coupling of reaction coordinate modes to methyl group modes is identified as being of primary importance in determining the accuracy of the 3-atom model for this system. Substantial coupling in abstraction, but not exchange, causes the model to fail for abstraction but succeed for exchange.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4536-4547
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Chemical Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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