Alkanes will undergo substitution reactions with halogens if there is a mechanism present(such as UV light or heat). During these reactions, the halogens will form
-these have no charge, but have an unpaired electron, making them highly reactive. Duringthe reaction, the halogen will undergo
to make the radicals.
This reaction takes place in a few steps:
This is when the radicals are formed.
This step happens first because the bonds between the halogen molecules areweaker and have a lower enthalpy than the C-H or C-C bonds.
In this step, the radicals are used, and new radicals are formed.
In the second stage of propagation, the CH
radical reacts with the chlorine moleculeto make CH
The free radicals are removed by reacting together
The methane and chlorine radicals can also be removed:
The methane radicals may react together:
In reality, there will be a mixture of products
, depending on the concentration of thereactants. These products can then be separated using distillation processes.