Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon

Reaction Intermediates for IIT JEE Chemistry

Last updated date: 09th Apr 2024
Total views: 61.5k
Views today: 1.61k
hightlight icon
highlight icon
highlight icon
share icon
copy icon

Properties of Free Radical, Carbocations, Carbanions, Carbenes, Nitrenes and Benzyne for JEE Mains

Short lived (l0-6 seconds to a few seconds) and highly reactive fragments called reaction intermediates result from homolytic and heterolytic bond fission. The important reaction intermediates are free radicals, carbocations, carbanions, carbenes, nitrenes and benzyne.


1. Free Radicals:

Free radical is an atom or group of atoms having an odd or unpaired election. These result on account of homolytic fission of a covalent bond and are denoted by putting a dot (•) against the symbol of atom or group of atoms.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


Characteristics of Free Radicals 

(i) Free radicals are generally electrically neutral.

(ii) They are highly unstable.

(iii) They are short-lived and highly reactive on account of the presence of odd electrons. They readily try to pair up the odd electrons.

(iv) Free radicals are paramagnetic in nature.

(v) Free radicals are generally formed either in presence of UV/visible light orin presence of peroxides


Reactions Involving Free Radicals 

(i) Wurtz reaction giving alkanes.

(ii) Substitution reactions of alkanes.

(iii) Kolbe's electrolytic reaction giving alkanes, alkenes and alkynes.

(iv) Anti-Markownikoff's addition or peroxide effect or Kharasch effect.


Relative Stabilities of Free Radicals

The tertiary alkyl free radicals are most stable and methyl free radical is least stable, i.e., the free radical formed easily has greater stability.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


2. Carbocations (Carbonium ions):

When a covalent bond wherein carbon is connected to a more electronegative atom or group breaks down by heterolytic fission, the more electronegative atoms remove the pair of electrons while carbon loses its electron and thus attains a positive charge. Such organic ions carrying a positive charge on carbon atoms are known as carbocations or carbonium ions.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


Carbocations are named by adding the words 'carbocation' to the parent alkyl group. These are also termed as primary, secondary, tertiary, depending upon the nature of the carbon atom bearing positive charge.


Formation of Carbocations

(i) By heterolysis: They are formed by heterolysis of halogen compounds.

(ii) By protonation of alkenes or alcohols:


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


(iii) By decomposition of diazo compounds:


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


Characteristics of Carbocation

a) Carbon atom carrying positive charge has six electrons in its valence shell, i. e., 2 electrons less than octet. 

b) The positively charged carbon atom in the carbocation is in sp2 state of hybridization (trigonal planar). 

The three hybridized orbitals which lie in the same plane are involved in the formation of three σ-bonds with other atoms or groups while the hybridized p -orbital remains vacant. The carbocation has a planar structure.


Reactions Involving Carbocations

(i) Elimination reactions (EI) to form alkenes from alkyl halides and alcohols.

(ii) Electrophilic addition reaction of alkenes, alkynes and alkadienes.

(iii) SN 1 reactions of alkyl halides and diazonium salts

(iv) Molecular pinacol-pinacolone rearrangement


Structure of Carbocations

The only difference from free radicals which have odd electron


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


Carbocations are very reactive as they have a carbon atom having a vacant p-orbital (6 electrons in valence shell). The positively charged carbon atom tries to complete its octet and hence, these ions react readily with those species which can release two electrons for the formation of fourth bond, i. e., they react with nucleophilic reagents. Usually the order of reactivity of any chemical species is reversed to that of its stability. Therefore, the order of reactivity of ions is:

Primary (1°) > Secondary (2°) > Tertiary (3°)


Stability of Carbocation: 

The stability of alkyl carbocations is influenced by resonance, hyperconjugation and inductive effects. An alkyl group has an electron releasing inductive effect. An alkyl group attached to the positively charged carbon of a carbocation tends to release electrons towards that carbon. In doing so it reduces positive charge on the carbon. In other words~ the positive charge gets dispersed as the alkyl group becomes somewhat positively charged itself. This dispersal of the charge stabilizes the carbocation. The number of more alkyl groups, the greater the dispersal of positive charge and, therefore, more the stability of carbocation is observed.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


Stability decreases as +I decreases (dispersal of positive charge decreases).


3. Carbanions:

When a covalent bond, in which carbon is attached to a lesser electronegative atom, breaks up by heterolysis the atom leaves without taking away the bonding pair of electrons and thus the carbon atom gains a negative charge because of an extra electron.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


Such organic ions which contain a negatively charged carbon atom are called carbanions. These are named for parent alkyl groups and add the word “carbanion”. These are also termed as primary, secondary and tertiary depending on the nature of the carbon atom bearing the negative charge.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


Organic compounds which possess labile or acidic hydrogen have the tendency to produce carbanions as in the case of reactive methylene compounds which lose proton in presence of sodium ethoxide (C2H5ONa).


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


Characteristics of Carbanions

a. The carbon carrying the negative charge contains 8 electrons in the valence shell, i. e., and complete octet.

b. They are highly reactive because in them the carbon carrying the negative charge is electron rich and can donate its non-bonding pair of electrons to some other group for sharing. Hence, carbanions behave as nucleophiles and are readily attacked by electrophiles.

c. The negatively charged carbon is in a state of sp3 hybridization. The hybrid orbitals are directed towards the comers of a tetrahedron. Three hybrid orbitals form single covalent bonds with other atoms while the fourth hybrid orbital contains a lone pair of electrons. Thus, carbanions have a pyramidal structure similar to NH3 molecules.

d. Carbanions are diamagnetic.


Reactions Involving Carbanions

1. Aldol condensation of aldehydes having α-H atoms.

2. Cannizzaro's reaction of aldehydes without α-H atoms.

3. Perkin's reaction involves the formation of carbanions as intermediate.

4. Knoevenagel reaction involves the formation of carbanions' as intermediate.


Structure of Carbanions


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


Stability of carbanions: 

The stability of carbanions is influenced by resonance, inductive effect and s-character of orbitals. Groups having –I effect decrease in the stability groups having - I effect increase the stability of carbanions.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


4. Carbenes:

Carbenes : CH2 (or methylene)are highly reactive, short-lived, diagonal-in geometry and neutral species in which a carbon atom has six electrons in the outer shell (electron deficient), out of which two constitute a lone pair and two are shared. So, they are divalent carbon species containing two unpaired electrons and possess no charge. Thus, in short, carbenes are sp2 as well as sp hybridized, neutral, transitory reaction intermediate containing a carbon atom with two bonds and two electrons.

(A) By the photochemical decomposition or pyrolysis of aliphatic diazo compounds or ketenes.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


(B) By the action of a base on a suitable polyhalogen compound.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


So, carbenes are related to carbanions through the α-elimination reaction.


Reactions of carbenes:

(a) Addition to alkenes: Formation of cycloalkane derivatives, e.g.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


Addition reaction of singlet carbenes with alkenes or alkynes is known as chelotropic addition.

(b) Insertion reactions: Carbenes are also used in its insertion between the C-H bond e.g


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


(c) Ring expansion reactions: These involve the addition of a halogen carbene across a double bond followed by rearrangement.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


Carbenes have important synthetic applications and are the reactive intermediates in some well-known reactions like Carbylamine reaction, Reimer-Tiemann reaction, Wittig reaction and Wolff rearrangement, etc.


5. Nitrenes or Imidogenes

Nitrenes are the organic species having the general formula, R-:N:. These are the nitrogen similar to carbenes and neutral univalent nitrogen intermediates (with one bond and two non-bonded electron pairs, i.e., -N). These are defined as 'the electron deficient species in which nitrogen has a sextet of electrons (six electrons in the outermost shell).


They are highly reactive and act as strong electrophiles as they need a pair of electrons to complete the octet. The parent species is N-:H: (known as nitrene or imidogene or azene or imine). It is difficult to be formed because it tends to polymerise to (NH) n as soon as it is formed. Hence, substituted nitrenes have received much attention.


Nitrenes can exist in the singlet and triplet states just as in the case of carbenes with one of the covalent bonds replaced by nitrogen lone pair. The triplet state is the ground state and most nitrenes exist in this state. In general nitrenes obey Hund's rule and are ground state triplet with two degenerate sp-orbitals containing a single electron each.


Formation of Nitrenes

(a) The simplest nitrene (:N:-H) is formed when hydrazoic acid (N3H) is irradiated with UV light in aromatic solvents which forms a small amount of primary aromatic amines.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)


(b) Alkyl, aryl and acyl nitrenes may be prepared by the photolysis of alkyl azides, alkyl isocyanates or acyl azides respectively.


(Image will be Uploaded soon)



Nitrenes, have important synthetic applications particularly acyl nitrene has been proposed as possible intermediate in the Hofmann, Curtius and Lossen rearrangements.


6. Benzyne (1,2-Dehydrobenzeile or Aryne)

Benzyne is a neutral, highly reactive reaction intermediate in which the aromatic character has not been markedly disturbed. It is formed as an intermediate during nucleophilic substitution of aromatic compounds. It contains Carbon-Carbon triple bond in the benzene ring involving the formation of a new weaker C-C bond by sideways overlapping of Sp2 –hybridized orbitals of two adjacent carbon atoms.

FAQs on Reaction Intermediates for IIT JEE Chemistry

1. Is this chapter important for IIT-JEE?

Yes, this topic is important for the students who are preparing for IIT JEE Chemistry. This chapter has to be completed by the students because questions are asked in the exams. This chapter is a vast chapter as it covers the Properties of Free radicals, Carbocations, Carbanions, Carbenes, Nitrenes, and Benzene which are needed to to be cleared. Students should know and remember the properties, structure, formations, characteristics, applications, and how they react. Students should prepare for IIT JEE with some external help which will help them to crack IIT JEE. They should cover every topic which is mentioned in the syllabus of IIT JEE Chemistry. Students should double-check the syllabus while preparing for the exam because sometimes the syllabus is changed. Students should have the proper knowledge of the subject in order to crack the exams. They can rely on Vedantu for preparation because Vedantu offers courses for the students who are preparing for this exam. They can enroll and get online tutoring from the best tutors. They even help in clearing the topics regarding every topic. They can find the details on Vedantu’s website.

2. Does Vedantu offer any online mock exams for IIT-JEE?

Vedantu has covered everything which is needed in order to make a student prepare for competitive exams. It provides the online mock test for IIT-JEE so that they can test the knowledge online from anywhere. They can access them through mobile or laptop at the convenience of the students. Students can even download the study materials from Vedantu so that they don't have to face any problems while preparing for the examinations. Vedantu has designed the mock test for IIT - JEE by the experts so that they can practice the test and get an idea of how the exam questions could be asked in the exam.

They can prepare, practice, and revise it to crack the exam.

3. Where can I find the JEE Main Chemistry Revision Notes?

Students can find the Chemistry Revision Notes for JEE Main from Vedantu, it can be downloaded from the website in PDF from their mobile or laptop without any problem. It is easy to access the website, if one cannot find it then you can directly click here, this link will directly take you to the page where the students can download the revision notes chapter-wise. Vedant has organized the revision notes on the basis of chapters so that it will be easy to download the chapters which are needed.

4. How to know the important topics related to chemistry for the JEE examination?

Students who are preparing for the JEE examinations should know the topics which should be covered for the preparation. Vedantu provides everything which is important for the students which are needed for JEE preparations. Students can log in to Vedantu’s website and get the list of all the important questions related to the IIT JEE Physics and Chemistry. It is sorted according to the chapters which are important, it also includes the study materials which are important for the preparations and can be downloaded chapter or topic-wise in PDF form from laptop or mobile. It is accessible to everyone for free. 

5. How to study for JEE Chemistry?

  • Students who are preparing for the JEE Chemistry are recommended to follow the tips which are given below-

  • Clear the concepts of Chemistry beforehand because this will make the students understand and will help them prepare.

  • Use the book NCERT to study because it covers most of the topics which are given in the syllabus.  Students can download it from Vedantu's website in PDF.

  • Understand and remember the formulas which are in Chemistry, because formulas will help them to understand the chemical bonding.

  • Make notes, practice, and revise again and again so that they can have the concepts clear and can remember them.

  • Take coaching from any institution or hire any tutor for the preparation of JEE exam. Self-study is good but with better guidance, students will face less difficulty.

  • Practice the previous year's question papers of JEE in order to know how the questions may be asked in the examination.

  • Solve all types of questions given in the previous question papers and the questions given in NCERT books. 

  • Students should solve the mock test which is prepared by the experts in Vedantu for JEE, which will help the aspirants. Studying a book is never enough to crack this examination. The Mock test helps the students with ideas about the actual exam.