Orthosubstituted anilines are generally weaker bases than aniline irrespective of the electron releasing or electron withdrawing nature of the substituent. This is known as ortho effect and may probably be due to combined electronic and steric factors.
The overall basic strength of ortho, meta and para substituted anilines, however, depends upon the electron,-donatingelectron-withdrawing resonance effect as well as inductive effect as discussed below:
(a) If the substituent has electron withdrawing inductive (-I) as well as resonance (-R) effect. Then all the substituted anilines are weaker bases with ortho isomer being the weaker base. Then m-isomer in this case is relatively stronger base because R-effect does not operate at m-positive. For example, basic strength of o, p, m-nitro anilines are given as follows:
(b) If the substituent has electron donating inductive (+I) as well as electron donating resonance (+R) effect, then among the substituted anilines, the ortho substituted anilines are weaker bases than aniline whereas p- and m- isomers are relatively stronger bases. However, the p-isomer is still stronger than m-isomers. This is clear from the basic strength of toluidines as given below:
(c) If a substituent has electron donating resonance effect (+R) but electron withdrawing inductive effect (-I), the overall basic strength depends upon the relative predominance of R-effect or I-effect.
(i) When a substituent has strong (+R) effect and weak (-I) effect (For example, -OCH3 group). At meta-position it exerts only (-I) effect causing base weakening effect. Among o- and p-isomers, ortho isomer is weaker base than aniline due to ortho effect while para-isomer is stronger base than aniline due to dominance of + R effect. The basic strength of o-, p- and m-anisidines are as under:
Similar trends are observed in amino-phenols with any ortho aminophenol is stronger base than aniline due to stabilization of o-hydroxy anilinium ion because of intramolecular H-bonding. The basic strengths of aminophenols are as under:
-NH2 group has much stronger (+R) effect and much weaker (-I) effect than -OH group and -OCH3 groups. The decreasing order of basic strengths of phenylenediamines is as given below:
(ii) when the substituent has a weak +R effect but a strong -I effect Chloro group (-Cl) is common example. Since -I- effect outweighs the +R effect, therefore, all the three o-, m- and p- chloroanilines are weaker bases than aniline. However, due to ortho-effect, o-chloroaniline is the weakest base. Further in p-chloroaniline is the weakest base. Further in p-chloroaniline both +R only the -I effect operates; therefore, p-chloroaniline is relatively stronger base than m-chloroaniline. Thus, the basicity of o-, m- and p- chloroanilines relative to aniline follows the sequence as given below: