The ring flipping conformational change in cyclohexane interconverts equatorial and axial positions on the ring, thus placing equatorial and axial substituents in equilibrium with each other.
In general, the position of the equilibrium strongly favors the equatorial conformers.
- Axial groups are in a gauche arrangement with the ring carbons numbers 3- and 5-
- For a methyl group each one of these interactions contributes about 0.9 kcal/mol of strain energy
- Other groups may have gauche energies greater or smaller than this
- The energy of an axial tert-butyl (1,1-dimethylethyl) group is so great that the equilibria for rings containing this group lie entirely to the side of the equatorial conformer
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