Chapter 9: Free Radical Substitution Reaction of Alkanes

Generally speaking, alkane is the type of compound that is inert to most organic reactions. There are only C-C and C-H σ bonds involved in the structure of alkanes. A σ bond is formed by head-to-head orbital overlapping, which is the most effective way of overlapping, as it makes the bond strong and stable. Furthermore, both C-C and C-H bonds are non-polar, so none of the atoms has any significant charges, which means no nucleophile nor electrophile is possible in alkanes. Overall, alkanes are rather unreactive compounds, and they rarely undergo any organic reactions. One exception is the reaction we will learn about in this chapter, which is halogenation substitution via a radical mechanism. We will first talk about how to produce radicals and then see radicals promote the substitution reaction of alkanes.


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