DFT studies of long-chain FAMEs: theoretical justification for determining chain length and unsaturation from experimental Raman spectra

R.E. Oakes, James Beattie, Bruce Moss, Steven Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Density functional calculations, using B3LPY/6-31G(d) methods, have been used to investigate the conformations and vibrational (Raman) spectra of a series of long-chain, saturated fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) with the formula CH2nO2 (n = 5-21) and two series of unsaturated FAMEs. The calculations showed that the lowest energy conformer within the saturated FAMEs is the simple (all-trans) structure and, in general, it was possible to reproduce experimental data using calculations on only the all-trans conformer. The only exception was C6H12O2, where a second low-lying conformer had to be included in order to correctly simulate the experimental Raman spectrum. The objective of the work was to provide theoretical justification for the methods that are commonly used to determine the properties of the fats and oils, such as chain length and degree of unsaturation, from experimental Raman data. Here it is shown that the calculations reproduce the trends and calibration curves that are found experimentally and also allow the reasons for the failure of what would appear to be rational measurements to be understood. This work shows that although the assumption that each FAME can simply be treated as a collection of functional groups can be justified in some cases, many of the vibrational modes are complex motions of large sections of the molecules and thus would not be expected to show simple linear trends with changes in structure, such as increasing chain length and/or unsaturation. Simple linear trends obtained from experimental data may thus arise from cancellation of opposing effects, rather than reflecting an underlying simplicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-45
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Molecular Structure: THEOCHEM
Volume626
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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