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Free radical addition
The basic steps with examples of the free radical addition (also known as radical chain mechanism) are:
Free radical addition depends on a reagent having a (relatively) weak bond, allowing it to homolyse to form radicals (often with heat or light). Reagents without such a weak bond would likely proceed via a different mechanism. An example of an addition reaction involving aryl radicals is the Meerwein arylation.
Additional recommended knowledge
Addition of mineral acid to an alkene
To illustrate, consider the alkoxy radical-catalyzed, anti-Markovnikov reaction of hydrogen bromide to an alkene. In this reaction, a catalytic amount of organic peroxide is needed to abstract the acidic proton from HBr and generate the bromine radical, however a full molar equivalent of alkene and acid is required for completion.
Note that the radical will be on the more substituted carbon. Free radical addition does not occur with the molecules HCl or HI. Both reactions are extremely endothermic and are not chemically favored.
Self-terminating oxidative radical cyclizations
In one specific type of radical addition called self-terminating oxidative radical cyclization, alkynes are oxidized to ketones with intramolecular ring closure and the radical species are inorganic rather than carbon based. This type of reaction is self-terminating because propagating is not possible and the initiator is used in stoichiometric amounts. .
As an example a nitrate radical is generated by photolysis of CAN which reacts with an alkyne to generate first a very reactive vinyl radical and then via a 1,5-hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) and 5-exo-trig ring-closure a ketyl radical. The ketyl dislodges a nitrite radical which is not reactive enough for propagation and the ketone is formed.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Free_radical_addition". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|