Eli5 what happens when toulene reacts with CeO²?

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In: Chemistry

Do you mean “Toluene”? AKA “Methylbenzene “?

Oddly specific and technical question for ELI5

Cerium (IV) oxide is a catalytic oxidizing agent and will pull an oxygen atom out of the air and jam it into the methane group like you’ll see [in a similar manganese catalyzed reaction here](https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0016236119319647).

It does this because metal ions at the surface of the structure have an incomplete crystal around them, and this is a high energy arrangement that is highly reactive.

Just plucking an also-reactive oxygen atom off the air doesn’t improve the situation much since now the oxygen is unpaired, so this reactive transition state will then attack the methyl group since its easier to disrupt than the aromatic ring.

Since cerium has different electronegativity and is a lot larger physically than manganese, you’ll have different reaction rates and product distribution. Offhand I’m not sure what the products would be.