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Understanding the free-radical chain reactions

  1. Oct 19, 2004 #1
    I'm reviewing for a test and having a bit of trouble fully understanding the free-radical chain reactions and writing the mechanisms (initiation, propagation and termination) steps. For example, my book describes the mechanism for chlorination of methane and I just don't follow it very well. What exactly is the point of rewriting the reaction and moving electrons over and over again to yield 3or more equations per propagation and termination step? Is there a trick or a shorter way of writing them out?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2004 #2


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    Hello, I've found one website describing all the events well enough for your purposes, I recommend that you look through this one.
  4. Oct 20, 2004 #3
    another place to look is here . Site helped me a bit before a quiz my class took last week.
  5. Oct 20, 2004 #4


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    You really have to write out all of the reasonable propagation and termination steps to have an idea of where each species ends up. I think it is also illustrative of how the reaction really is a "chain" reaction, since one radical can react with another starting material molecule to make a product and another radical.
  6. Oct 21, 2004 #5
    thanks for the websites, they were EXTREMELY useful, especially the second one!!
  7. Oct 21, 2004 #6
    you're welcome, know exactly what you're going through :smile:
  8. Oct 22, 2004 #7

    Besides the sites given, I strongly recommend Ian Fleming's Mechanisms in Organic Chemistry. It will be helpful in understanding various types of mechanisms and reactions...
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