Pulse radiolysis studies on the oxidation of organic radicals in aqueous solution
Pulse radiolysis has been used to measure directly the absolute rates of oxidation by ferricyanide ion of various radicals produced by OH attack on organic solutes. These include mono, di- and polyhydroxylic compounds, hydroxy acids, polyethylene oxides of molecular weight 200, 6000 and 20 000 and the amino acid serine. Radicals produced by hydrogen abstraction from α carbon atoms in alcohols are oxidized at, or near, diffusion-controlled rates, whereas the reactions are much slower for radicals formed by OH-attack elsewhere. The technique has been used to measure the percentage OH-attack at the α position for a series of straight and branched-chain alcohols.
Oxygen competes with ferricyanide for radical oxidation. The data for oxygen-containing solutions fit a simple radical-competition scheme which has been used to measure rates of peroxy-radical formation. These approach diffusion-controlled limits.