Characteristics of radical reactions, spin rules, and a suggestion for the consistent use of a dot on radical species

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In many chemical reactions, reactive radicals have been shown to be transient intermediates. The free radical character of a chemical species is often, but not always, indicated by adding a superscript dot to the chemical formula. A consistent use of this radical symbol on all species that have radical character is suggested. Free radicals have a spin quantum number of 1/2 and the allowed changes of the net spin quantum number (s) are 0, ±1, ±2,.. in any transformations including chemical reactions. By applying this simple rule and a consistent use of a radical symbol on all radical species, the construction of chemical reaction equations and the reaction mechanism of radical reactions can be clarified. The examples of decomposition of water and cyclohexane molecules induced by high-energy photons or ionizing radiation and the example of the complex reactions taking place during the irradiation treatment of flue gases are used to demonstrate these suggestions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1658-1662
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Volume88
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2011

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Chemical reactions
Free Radicals
Ionizing radiation
Flue gases
symbol
Photons
Irradiation
Decomposition
Molecules
Water
energy
water
Cyclohexane

Keywords

  • Chemical Engineering
  • First-Year Undergraduate/General
  • Free Radicals
  • High School/Introductory Chemistry
  • Mechanisms of Reactions
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Reactions
  • Reactive Intermediates
  • Textbooks/Reference Books

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Education

Cite this

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abstract = "In many chemical reactions, reactive radicals have been shown to be transient intermediates. The free radical character of a chemical species is often, but not always, indicated by adding a superscript dot to the chemical formula. A consistent use of this radical symbol on all species that have radical character is suggested. Free radicals have a spin quantum number of 1/2 and the allowed changes of the net spin quantum number (s) are 0, ±1, ±2,.. in any transformations including chemical reactions. By applying this simple rule and a consistent use of a radical symbol on all radical species, the construction of chemical reaction equations and the reaction mechanism of radical reactions can be clarified. The examples of decomposition of water and cyclohexane molecules induced by high-energy photons or ionizing radiation and the example of the complex reactions taking place during the irradiation treatment of flue gases are used to demonstrate these suggestions.",
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N2 - In many chemical reactions, reactive radicals have been shown to be transient intermediates. The free radical character of a chemical species is often, but not always, indicated by adding a superscript dot to the chemical formula. A consistent use of this radical symbol on all species that have radical character is suggested. Free radicals have a spin quantum number of 1/2 and the allowed changes of the net spin quantum number (s) are 0, ±1, ±2,.. in any transformations including chemical reactions. By applying this simple rule and a consistent use of a radical symbol on all radical species, the construction of chemical reaction equations and the reaction mechanism of radical reactions can be clarified. The examples of decomposition of water and cyclohexane molecules induced by high-energy photons or ionizing radiation and the example of the complex reactions taking place during the irradiation treatment of flue gases are used to demonstrate these suggestions.

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