Free Radicals

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Raj Susarla 3I
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Free Radicals

Postby Raj Susarla 3I » Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:24 am

Are there rules when it comes to making free radicals?

I understand that sometimes a structure with a free radical is favorable, for instance if it lowers the formal charges or creates resonance. But how do we know when to include a free radical in a structure, and are there rules governing where it is to be placed?

I understand free radicals conceptually, but they seem to be more of a problem for me when trying to draw structures with them.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Free Radicals

Postby Chem_Mod » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:49 pm

You'll get a radical if the total number of valence electrons (including charges) is odd.

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Re: Free Radicals

Postby Nerissa_Low_2F » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:51 pm

I think you would know when to draw a free radical by counting the number of electrons. Since radicals have 1 unpaired electron, they will always have an odd number of electrons as opposed to the even number of electrons that other compounds would have. As for which atom the unpaired electron would be on, I think you would have to look at formal charges. My reasoning is that it would typically be found on the most electronegative element in the compound but I'm not completely sure.

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