The crystal structures of triethyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6-tricarboxylate (I), triethyl-1,3,5-benzenetricarboxylate (II) and tris-2-hydroxyethyl isocyanurate (III) have been determined from conventional laboratory X-ray powder diffraction data using the differential evolution structure solution technique. The determination of these structures presented an unexpectedly wide variation in levels of difficulty, with only the determination of (III) being without complication. In the case of (I) structure solution resulted in a Rietveld refinement profile that was not ideal, but was subsequently rationalized by single-crystal diffraction as resulting from disorder. Refinement of structure (II) showed significant variation in side-chain conformation from the initial powder structure solution. Further investigation showed that the structure solution optimization had indeed been successful, and that preferred orientation had a dramatic effect on the structure-solution R-factor search surface. Despite the presence of identical side chains in (I) and (II), only the triazine-based system retains threefold molecular symmetry in the crystal structure. The lack of use of the heterocyclic N atom as a hydrogen-bond acceptor in this structure results in the formation of a similar non-centrosymmetric network to the benzene-based structure, but with overall three-dimensional centrosymmetry. The hydrogen-bonded layer structure of (III) is similar to that of other isocyanurate-based structures of this type.
Chong, S. Y., Seaton, C. C., Kariuki, B. M., & Tremayne, M. (2006). Molecular versus crystal symmetry in tri-substituted triazine, benzene and isocyanurate derivatives. Acta Crystallographica Section B: Structural Science, 62(5), 864–874. https://doi.org/10.1107/S0108768106020921