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Unformatted text preview: S N 1 reaction is a substitution reaction "S N " stands for nucleophilic substitution and the "1" represents the fact that the rate-determining step is unimolecular. The reaction involves a carbocation intermediate and is commonly seen in reactions of secondary or tertiary alkyl halides or, under strongly acidic conditions, with secondary or tertiary alcohols. With primary alkyl halides, the alternative S N 2 reaction occurs. The S N 1 reaction is often known as the dissociative mechanism . Mechanism An example of a reaction taking place with an S N 1 reaction mechanism is the hydrolysis of tert-butyl bromide with water forming tert-butyl alcohol: This S N 1 reaction takes place in three steps: Formation of a tert-butyl carbocation by separation of a leaving group (a bromide anion) from the carbon atom: this step is slow and reversible.  Nucleophilic attack: the carbocation reacts with the nucleophile. If the nucleophile is a neutral molecule (i.e. a solvent) a third step is required to complete the reaction. When the solvent is water, the intermediate is an solvent) a third step is required to complete the reaction....
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