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Chemistry LibreTexts


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  • A radical or free radical is a species that has one or more unpaired electrons.

    eg. 1: Hydrogen atom
    electron configuration of the hydrogen atom:

    eg. 2: Chlorine atom
    electron configuration of the chlorine atom:

    eg. 3: Oxygen molecule
    electron configuration of the oxygen molecule:

    eg. 4:

    eg. 5:

    Some radicals are resonance-stabilized.


    A radical that has two unpaired electrons is called a diradical (eg. 3).

    see also alkyl radical, allylic radical, benzylic radical

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