Radicals are Reactive Species

As discussed in the tetravalent carbon section, carbon atoms usually follow the octet rule. Radicals do not follow the octet rule becasue they have unpaired electrons. Therefore, carbon radicals are very reactive and are quick to form new bonds with other molecules that have unpaired electrons. When a radical combines with a neighboring radical, two unstable molecules become one stable one. An example is:

Because radicals react so quickly they are often very difficult to study. In order to study radicals and other reactive species found in space, such as carbenes, chemists often "isolate" them from each other.