Organic chemistry
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Organic Chemistry

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Organic chemistry

Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry 2277565

At this moment, you are sitting in an “organic” body. Your skin, hair, heart, muscles, and lungs are all made from organic compounds. In fact, the only parts of your body that aren’t mostly organic are your teeth and bones! Medicines, clothing, carpets, and plastic are all made from organic compounds. Outside your window, the grass, trees, squirrels – all organic.

What are you having for lunch? Nearly all food is composed of organic compounds – bread, butter, meat, lettuce. For dessert? Sugar, flour, vanilla, and chocolate are all organic. What about a drink? Milk and juice are solutions of organic compounds dissolved in water.

Before 1828

“Organic” was defined as coming from living or once-living matter. An organic compound couldn’t be made from inorganic components

This was known as “vitalism” – it was a theory that was created from the observation that no one had ever been able to make an organic compound, so they assumed it couldn’t be done

Organic compounds had a “vital force” – something you couldn’t cook up in a lab

Before 1828…

What happened

In 1828, a German chemistnamed Friedrich Wohleraccidentally created urea

Wohler believed in vitalism,as did most everyone at thattime

Wohler’s discovery, accordingto him, was a “great tragedy ofscience… the slaying of abeautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact…” His Petri dish of urea was the ugly fact

What Happened?

It took time

Vitalism wasn’t given upimmediately – Wohler’s ureawas just one experiment

However, his experiment gotothers trying – and eventually, other organic molecules were synthesized

Vitalism couldn’t stand up to the growing evidence against it

It Took time…

Some didn t give up

Even after dozens of organic molecules had been synthesized, there werethose who didn’t want toabandon the vital force theory

Louis Pasteur, a very famousscientist, believed that vitalismcould still be used

However, other scientistsdeveloped theories to explainorganic chemistry without theuse of vitalism

We still use the terms ‘organic’ and ‘inorganic’ from vitalism

Some didn’t give up…

Why carbon

  • Modern organic chemistry isthe study of carbon-containingcompounds

  • Carbon has three majorproperties that make it special

    • It hybridizes to make sp, sp2, andsp3orbitals (for a total of 4 bonds)

    • It can form strong single, double, and triple bonds with itself

    • It can make a variety of structures

Why Carbon?


Carbon should only form 2 bonds, but it forms 4, as in methane (CH4)

When it forms four single bonds, it mixes, or ‘hybridizes’, its 2s orbital and its three 2p orbitals to make four 2sp3orbitals

When it forms a double bond, it hybridizes its 2s orbital and two of its 2p orbitalsto make three 2sp2orbitals(and it still has one 2p orbital)

When it forms a triple bond or two double bonds, it hybridizes its 2s orbital and one of its 2p orbitals to make two 2sp orbitals (and it still has two 2p orbitals)


Carbon carbon bonds

Very few elements can form bonds with themselves – actually, only Carbon and Silicon have any real ability to do this

It’s not just single bonds, carbon can bond with itself to make double bonds and triple bonds as well (can it form quadruple bonds?)

Being able to bond with itself and a number of other atoms means it can make a nearly endless variety of compounds

Carbon-Carbon Bonds

Organic structure

  • Because carbon can bond withitself and other atoms, it canform a variety of structures

    • Straight chains

    • Branched chains

    • Rings

    • Sheets (like graphite)

    • Tubes

    • Spheres

  • This is unique to carbon

Organic structure

That s why life is made of carbon

Carbon can do so much, make so many different molecules

Imagine how many different kinds of molecules there are in your body – skin, hair, kidneys, heart, brain, muscles, veins, arteries, genes – all of these are organic, and all of them are different!

And that’s just your body – think of all the animals and plants in the world!

That’s why life is made of carbon!

Where do they come from

Most organic compounds weuse come from ‘fossil fuels’,oil and coal we find buriedin the earth or sea

Animals and plants that diedlong ago were transformed into fossil fuels by bacteria and extremely high pressure

We extract these fuels from the earth and refine them into hundreds of different products – we’ll learn more about this next day

Where do they come from?

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