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Hofmann rule

"The principal olefin formed in the decomposition of quaternary ammonium hydroxides that contain different primary alkyl groups is always ethylene, if an ethyl group is present." Originally given in this limited form by A. W. Hofmann, the rule has since been extended and modified as follows: "When two or more alkenes can be produced in a β-elimination reaction, the alkene having the smallest number of alkyl groups attached to the double bond carbon atoms will be the predominant product." This orientation described by the Hofmann rule is observed in elimination reactions of quaternary ammonium salts and tertiary sulfonium salts, and in certain other cases.
See also: Zaitsev rule
PAC, 1994, 66, 1077 (Glossary of terms used in physical organic chemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 1994)) on page 1121
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IUPAC. Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book"). Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford (1997). XML on-line corrected version: (2006-) created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN 0-9678550-9-8.
Last update: 2014-02-24; version: 2.3.3.
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