This chapter is designed to provide a gentle introduction to the subject of reaction mechanisms. Two types of reactions are introduced—polar reactions and radical reactions. The chapter briefly reviews a number of topics you should be familiar with, including rates and equilibria, elementary thermodynamics and bond dissociation energies. You must have a working knowledge of these topics to obtain a thorough understanding of organic reaction mechanisms. Reaction energy diagrams are used to illustrate the energy changes that take place during chemical reactions, and to emphasize the difference between a reaction intermediate and a transition state.
- 6.5: An Example of a Polar Reaction - Addition of HBr to Ethylene
- This page looks at the reaction of the carbon-carbon double bond in alkenes such as ethene with hydrogen halides such as hydrogen chloride and hydrogen bromide. Symmetrical alkenes (like ethene or but-2-ene) are dealt with first. These are alkenes where identical groups are attached to each end of the carbon-carbon double bond.