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Saturday, 25 June 2011

Classification of organic compounds

Classification of organic compounds

[edit] Functional groups

The family of carboxylic acids contains a carboxyl (-COOH) functional group. Acetic acid is an example.
The concept of functional groups is central in organic chemistry, both as a means to classify structures and for predicting properties. A functional group is a molecular module, and the reactivity of that functional group is assumed, within limits, to be the same in a variety of molecules. Functional groups can have decisive influence on the chemical and physical properties of organic compounds. Molecules are classified on the basis of their functional groups. Alcohols, for example, all have the subunit C-O-H. All alcohols tend to be somewhat hydrophilic, usually form esters, and usually can be converted to the corresponding halides. Most functional groups feature heteroatoms (atoms other than C and H). Organic compounds are classified according to functional groups, alcohols, carboxylic acids, amines, etc.

[edit] Aliphatic compounds

The aliphatic hydrocarbons are subdivided into three groups of homologous series according to their state of saturation:
  • paraffins, which are alkanes without any double or triple bonds,
  • olefins or alkenes which contain one or more double bonds, i.e. di-olefins (dienes) or poly-olefins.
  • alkynes, which have one or more triple bonds.
The rest of the group is classed according to the functional groups present. Such compounds can be "straight-chain," branched-chain or cyclic. The degree of branching affects characteristics, such as the octane number or cetane number in petroleum chemistry.
Both saturated (alicyclic) compounds and unsaturated compounds exist as cyclic derivatives. The most stable rings contain five or six carbon atoms, but large rings (macrocycles) and smaller rings are common. The smallest cycloalkane family is the three-membered cyclopropane ((CH2)3). Saturated cyclic compounds contain single bonds only, whereas aromatic rings have an alternating (or conjugated) double bond. Cycloalkanes do not contain multiple bonds, whereas the cycloalkenes and the cycloalkynes do.

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