Tips for organic chemistry success
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Tips for Organic Chemistry Success. In order to successfully understand the various types of Organic molecules you should be able to identify each of the following for each type of molecule: Structural characteristics (know the functional group )

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Tips for organic chemistry success
Tips for Organic Chemistry Success

  • In order to successfully understand the various types of Organic molecules you should be able to identify each of the following for each type of molecule:

    • Structural characteristics (know the functional group)

    • Nomenclature (the rules for naming the molecules)

    • Physical and Chemical properties (basic/simple)

    • Occurrence and uses (common)

    • Preparation (what basic reactions produce the molecules)

    • Characteristic reactions of the molecules

  • For additional help, check out the Organic Chemistry section of the following website:


  • Organic vs inorganic compounds
    Organic vs. Inorganic Compounds

    • Inorganic compounds: cpds which are NOT hydrocarbons (~1.5 million)

    • Organic compounds: cpds which contain hydrogen & carbon (thus, hydrocarbons & derivatives) (~ 7 million)

    • “Organic Chemistry” started, as a branch of chemistry, when F. Wohler

      disproved the idea of “vital force.”

      - previously, it was thought that there were

      two types of matter (based on heating):


      cooking (required “vital force”)

    Carbon atoms
    Carbon Atoms

    • Carbon atoms generally form 4 bonds (think about their electron configuration)

    • In “organic” compounds these bonds are typically COVALENT.

    • Carbon readily forms bonds with other carbon atoms as well as with atoms of other elements.

    • Carbons w/ H’s attached are known as alkyl groups.

      • -CH3 methyl

      • -CH2CH3 ethyl

    Hydrocarbons their derivatives
    Hydrocarbons & their Derivatives

    • Hydrocarbons: H & C atoms only (the C & H atoms form the backbone of all organic molecules)

    • Derivatives: H, C & other elements

    • Saturated Hydrocarbons: all C-C bonds are “single.”

      • Alkanes and their derivatives

    • Unsaturated Hydrocarbons: one or more C-C bond(s) is/are multiple.

      • Alkenes, alkynes, aromatics & their derivatives

    Basic structural features

    Basic Structural Features

    Chains of atoms

    Rings of atoms

    Shapes of organic molecules

    Shapes of Organic Molecules

    The # of effective e- pairs around a center atom will determine the geometry of the molecule.

    # e- pairs e- pair geometry

    2 pairs linear

    3 pairs trigonal planar

    4 pairs tetrahedral

    Remember, the e- pair geometry and the molecular geometry are NOT necessarily the same!

    Drawing organic molecules

    Drawing Organic Molecules

    Complete Structures: draw all atoms and all bonds, showing relative shapes

    Condensed Structures: write each alkyl (CHx) group separately.

    Skeletal Structures: carbon atoms at each line junction, assume enough H’s; draw all heteroatoms & their H’s.

    Naming organic molecules

    The number of carbons in a chain is identified according to the following:

    # C name beginning

    1 meth-

    2 eth-

    3 prop-

    4 but-

    5 pent-

    6 hex-

    7 hept-

    8 oct-

    9 non-

    10 dec-

    The end of the name is based on C-C bonding:

    All single C-C bonds - end in “-ane”

    One or more double C-C bonds end in “-ene”

    One or more triple C-C bonds end in “-yne”

    Naming Organic Molecules

    Functional groups

    Functional Groups the following:

    Functional groups contain a heteroatom, a multiple bond, or both and provide characteristic chemical & physical properties.

    Abbreviating the hydrocarbon backbone:

    R - fcn’l grp

    ex. R - Br alkyl halide

    R - OH alcohol (-OH is hydroxyl group)

    R - COOH carboxylic acid(-COOH is carboxyl group)

    Single vs double bonds to heteroatoms

    Single the following:

    Alkyl halides




    Double (-C=O, carbonyl)



    Carboxylic Acids



    Single vs. Double bonds to Heteroatoms

    Properties of organic cpds

    Properties of Organic Cpds the following:

    Polarity of molecule is determined by electronegativity differences and shape of molecule.

    Solubility: most are soluble in organic solvents

    water solubility is based on size of molecule &



    Pollutants the following:

    Organic pollutants affect the environment depending on their solubility.

    Ex. DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichlorothane)

    Crude Oil


    Water soluble: the following:

    Lots of polar bonds & polar fcn’l groups

    Typically smaller molecules

    C and all the B’s

    Water insoluble:

    Lots of nonpolar bonds and few polar fcn’l groups

    Typically larger molecules

    A, D, E, K