Molecule of the Month
January 2021
Methyl Radical Initiated Kharasch Reaction

The thermal decomposition of di-tert-butylhyponitrite (DTBHN), a safer alternative to the explosive diacetyl peroxide, was used to produce highly reactive methyl radicals that can efficiently initiate chain processes such as the Kharasch reaction. This mode of initiation generates byproducts that are either gaseous (N2) or volatile (acetone and methyl halide) thereby facilitating greatly product purification.
Similar results were also obtained with the cheap and easily prepared di-tert-butyl peroxyoxalate (DTBPO).

This work was carried out in the group of Prof. Philippe Renaud.


  • N. D. C. Tappin, P. Renaud;
    "Methyl Radical Initiated Kharasch and Related Reactions"
    Adv. Synth. Cat., 2021, 363(1), 275-282; doi:10.1002/adsc.202001000.