Abstract

The molecular structure of ethylbenzene has been studied by gas electron diffraction. Experi-mental intensities and radial distribution are well reproduced by an average structure with r = 70(3)°, where r is the angle between the C—C—C(H3) plane and the ring plane, mean (rg) bond lengths (C-C)phenyi = 139.9(3) pm, Cphenyi-C(H2) = 152.4(9) pm, C(H2)-C(H3) = 153.5(12) pm, C—H = 109.4(4) pm, and bond angle C-C-C(HS) = 111.8(15)°. (Estimated total errors are parenthesized.) An also acceptable perpendicular model (r = 90°) is accompanied by very large vibrational amplitudes, while the coplanar conformation (r = 0°) is excluded. Mixtures of conformers fit the experimental data as well. The barrier to rotation of the phenyl group is estimated from the average structure to be about 7 kJ mol -1 . According to CNDO/2 calculations, only the perpendicular form is stable. The results of a geometry optimization are shown.