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Alkenes contain the unsaturated C=C functional group which characteristically undergo addition reactions.
This is driven by the conversion of the weaker π bond into 2 new, stronger σ bonds.
The reactions of alkenes can seem a little bewildering as a wide variety of reagents undergo this type of reaction providing access to products with various regioselectivities and stereoselectivities depending on the reagent and / or reaction conditions, but ultimately on the mechanism by which the reaction occurs.
There are potentially 3 factors associated with each of the addition reactions of alkenes:
• overall transformation (i.e. C=C to what functional group)
• regioselectivity (provided the two atoms that add are different)
• stereoselectivity (most easily revealed with cyclic alkenes