The spontaneous rearrangement of allylic azides is thought to be a sigmatropic reaction. Presented herein is a detailed investigation into the rearrangement of several allylic azides. A combination of experiments including equilibrium studies, kinetic analysis, density functional theory calculations, and selective 15N-isotopic labeling are included. We conclude that the Winstein rearrangement occurs by the assumed sigmatropic pathway under most conditions. However, racemization was observed for some cyclic allylic azides. A kinetic analysis of this process is provided, which supports a previously undescribed ionic pathway.
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