Radical Initiation

Radical reactions require an initial first step to get going. We call this reagent the radical initiator

Chemical bonds can be cleaved in two ways: Heterolytically (ionic cleavage) and homolytically (radical cleavage).

Homolytic dissociation energy is much higher than a corresponding heterolytic dissociation energy.  

Radical initiators have relatively weak bonds that can be more easily cleaved by hemolysis.