Radical Stability

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Key Questions

  • Radical stability refers to the energy level of the radical.

    If the internal energy of the radical is high, the radical is unstable. It will try to reach a lower energy level.

    If the internal energy of the radical is low, the radical is stable. It will have little tendency to react further.

    Free radicals have only 7 electrons in their valence shell. They are higher in energy than atoms with 8 valence electrons.

    Carbocations are also electron-deficient species. They are even higher in energy, because they have only 6 valence electrons.

    Electron-donating alkyl groups stabilize carbocations. They also stabilize free radicals.

    So the order of stability of free radicals is the same as for carbocations:

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    This means that tertiary radicals are most easily formed, and methyl radicals are least easily formed.

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Questions

  • Maya answered · 7 months ago
  • anor277 answered · 1 year ago