Free Radicals (Chemical and Industrial Safety)
Within chemistry, the term radical (more commonly called a free radical), refers to an atom, molecule, or ion that have one or more unpaired valence electrons that are covalently bonded.
Though there are some outliers, because of the unpaired electrons free radicals become extremely reactive with other substances, and with themselves.
Free radicals can often cause a chain reaction. This is, because when one free radical searches to bond with another unpaired valence electron which regenerates a new radical causing a domino effect of reactions. Propagation phase is the term used to describe this series of reactions.
Radicals can detach hydrogen or other atoms from several different solvents and reagents, this is seen in a group transfer reaction. Transfer reaction meaning the transfer of an atom or group of atoms from one molecule to another.
In general, most free radicals, that occur organically, have very short lifespans and disproportionate (this is a group transfer into dissimilar molecules) or dimerize (meaning that an atom or atoms are transferred to similar molecules) and these reactions happen at a very specific diffusion controlled rate. Diffusion controlled rate means that they react at the moment of contact.
Free radicals are a very important, specific, and intricate part of chemistry that can oftentimes be hard to understand.
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