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Reactions Involving Free Radicals (Radical Reactions!)

radical reactions   Named Reactions in Organic Synthesis

Featured reactions:


An organic free radical is a free radical form of carbon possessing three single bonds and a single unpaired electron. The existence of such a species was long thought impossible. But in 1900, Russian chemist Moses Gomberg discovered the first organic free radical and now many free radical organic chemistry researchers consider Gomberg as the founder of their field.

Initially viewed as a curiosity, it wasn’t until the 1930s that the field of free radical chemistry began to grow in importance. We now know that organic free radicals play a fundamental role in the way some enzymes function in the human body. These highly reactive species are implicated in the body's aging process and in the development of cancer and other diseases.

Understanding organic free radicals has helped us to explain DNA synthesis and many other natural phenomena.

Organic free radicals also play a key role in the production of plastics, synthetic rubber and other widely used synthetic materials.

Free radical reactions have become an increasingly important tool in organic synthesis in the last two decades, because of their selectivity and specificity as well as their mild nature.

In this series, we feature the following radical reactions:


Other named reactions featuring free radicals include:
  • Barton radical decarboxylation
  • Barton-McCombie radical deoxygenation
  • Barton nitrile ester reaction
  • Hofmann-Loffler-Freytag reaction
  • Minisci reaction

Which is your favorite named reaction?   Vote now


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Other reaction categories:

Pericyclic and photochemical reactions NEW!

Electrophilic aromatic substitution

Nucleophilic substitution reactions

Heterocycle formation

Transition metal-catalyzed couplings


Reactions involving carbonyl compounds

Reduction reactions

Rearrangement reactions

Electrophilic addition reactions

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