Yes, the chemical benzoyl (you made a typo, itīs not benzyl but
benzoyl) peroxid can cause free radicals.
"Free radicals are compounds with a free electron. Such compounds can
be formed when a bigger compound is split into two smaller compounds.
During such a reaction, a bond is split, and when that split occurs,
the smaller segments retain one free electron each from the bond that
Free radicals are formed when certain molecules interact with
electromagnetic fields. Such fields are formed by electromagnetic
waves such as infra red (heat) light, visible light, ultra violet
light or x-ray. Certain compounds, such as tertiary amines, can also
interact with larger compounds and cause them to produce two free
For example, benzoyl peroxide, C6H6-C(O)-O-O-C(O)-C6H6, when exposed
to heat or tertiary amines (different activators), decomposes into two
C6H6-C-O* units, where * represents an electron. These two units are
two free radicals, I*, that will initiate the first step of the
polymerization process. This mechanism is used for so called
( http://nersp.nerdc.ufl.edu/~soderho/D08.htm )
Benzoyl peroxide is frequently used as an initiator for radical
"Polymerization reactions - Chain-growth polymerization - Free-radical initiation
Chain-growth polymerization reactions require the presence of an
initiator, a compoundthat reacts with the monomer to form another
reactive compound, which begins the linking process. The most widely
used initiators are compounds such as peroxides that break down to an
unstable species called a radical (or free radical). A radical is a
reactive compound that contains an unpaired electron; in chemical
formulas it is commonly given the generic designation R · .
the most commonly used peroxide initiator, benzoyl peroxide, can
produce benzoyloxy radicals by cleaving at an oxygen-oxygen bond. The
pair of benzoyloxy radicals thus produced may initiate a polymer
chain, or they may break down further to yield carbon dioxide and yet
a new initiator, a phenyl radical"
( The Encyclopedia Britannica Deluxe CD ROM Version 2003)
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