What is a free-radical?

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Free radicals are highly unstable and reactive atoms or groups of atoms that have at least one unpaired electron. It is this unpaired electron that makes them very reactive as they are desperately trying to fill their outer s, p or d orbital in which only one other electron is needed to fill.

Free radicals can be created by beaming UV light onto the sample (e.g. Cl2). It splits the molecule by heterolytic fission so each Cl gets one of the electrons from the shared bond.

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