Related topics: cells · mitochondria · antioxidants

Electron beam strengthens recyclable nanocomposite

Polymers reinforced with carbon fibers combine strength and low weight. They also boast significant green credentials as they are less resource-intensive during production and use, and they are readily recycled. While the ...

Carriers deliver controllable cancer chemotherapy

Cancer kills more than half a million men, women, and children each year in the U.S, and chemotherapy is only slightly more discriminating than the disease it treats. As a result, many cancer treatments kill cells throughout ...

Radical steps toward clean encapsulation

A polymer with changeable properties and broad applications has been developed at A*STAR. The polymer changes between core-shell nanoparticles, self-assembled agglomerations, and degraded fragments, depending on environmental ...

Electron accelerators reveal the radical secrets of antioxidants

In a groundbreaking series of experiments, an Osaka University researcher has demonstrated an exciting new method for understanding the power of antioxidants to protect us from harmful free radicals. Professor Kazuo Kobayashi ...

Microalgae as natural detector of environmental safety

An international group of toxicologists, including experts from the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), report that unicellular microalgae, the most common microorganisms on Earth and an important part of the food chain ...

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Radical (chemistry)

In chemistry, radicals (often referred to as free radicals) are atoms, molecules, or ions with unpaired electrons on an otherwise open shell configuration. These unpaired electrons are usually highly reactive, so radicals are likely to take part in chemical reactions. Radicals play an important role in combustion, atmospheric chemistry, polymerization, plasma chemistry, biochemistry, and many other chemical processes, including human physiology. For example, superoxide and nitric oxide regulate many biological processes, such as controlling vascular tone. "Radical" and "free radical" are frequently used interchangeably, although a radical may be trapped within a solvent cage or be otherwise bound. The first organic free radical identified was triphenylmethyl radical, by Moses Gomberg in 1900 at the University of Michigan.

Historically, the term radical has also been used for bound parts of the molecule, especially when they remain unchanged in reactions. These are now called functional groups. For example, methyl alcohol was described as consisting of a methyl "radical" and a hydroxyl "radical". Neither are radicals in the modern chemical sense, as they are permanently bound to each other, and have no unpaired, reactive electrons. They can, however, be observed as radicals in mass spectrometry after breaking down the substance with a hail of energetic electrons.

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