Why is SN2 stereospecific?

1 Answer
Apr 5, 2016

Because the mechanism of the reaction determines the stereochemical outcome of the reaction.


A chiral centre of a given handedness will have an inverted handedeness upon #S_N2# reaction. I have always likened the mechanism to an umbrella blowing itself inside out on a windy day. Likewise its optical antipode will have the opposite handedness when it undergoes that same reaction