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12: Organic Chemistry

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    Organic chemistry involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, and reactions of organic compounds and organic materials, i.e., matter in its various forms that contain carbon atoms. Study of structure includes many physical and chemical methods to determine the chemical composition and the chemical constitution of organic compounds and materials. Study of properties includes both physical properties and chemical properties, and uses similar methods as well as methods to evaluate chemical reactivity, with the aim to understand the behavior of the organic matter.

    • 12.1: Organic Chemistry
      Organic chemistry is the study of organic compounds, or covalently bonded compounds containing carbon other than carbonates and oxides. It overlaps with biochemistry which is the study of chemistry in living systems.
    • 12.2: Hydrocarbons
      Hydrocarbons are organic compounds containing only carbon and hydrogen. They are important in our lives as fuels and as a source material for numerous other products. Most of the hydrocarbons that we use come from fossil fuels. Saturated hydrocarbons contain only single bonds between carbon atoms while unsaturated hydrocarbons will have one or more double or triple bonds between carbons.
    • 12.3: Alkanes
      Saturated hydrocarbons comprise a group of compounds known as alkanes. These molecules, along with other organic compounds, can be represented in a variety of ways including molecular formulas, structural formulas, condensed structural formulas, and line formulas.
    • 12.4: Branched Alkanes
      Carbon is somewhat unique in that it is able to make compounds with multiple branches. These leads to the formation of millions of different organic compounds, many of which are isomers. Structural isomers are compounds that have the same molecular formula but different structural formulas. It is important that each unique isomer has its own unique name. These names are systematically determined by a series of steps.
    • 12.5: Alkenes and Alkynes
      Unsaturated hydrocarbons also have characteristic names that can be determined following a series of steps. Alkenes are hydrocarbons containing one or more carbon-carbon double bonds. Alkynes are hydrocarbons containing one or more carbon-carbon triple bonds. While both can form structural isomers like the alkanes, alkenes are also able to form geometric isomers. These isomers have the same bonding arrangement of the atoms but with different geometries.
    • 12.6: Oxygen-Containing Organic Compounds
      Organic compounds can also contain elements besides just carbon and hydrogen. Examples of possible heteroatoms include oxygen, nitrogen, and halogens. Oxygen can bind to carbon in varying amounts, with single or double bonds, and in various locations on the carbon chain. Each different scenario gives rise to a group of compounds with similar structures and chemical properties known as a functional group.
    • 12.7: Alcohols, Aldehydes, Carboxylic Acids, and Ketones
      Many oxygen-containing functional groups can be converted from one to another through the process of oxidation or reduction. Each of these functional groups has a unique ending to the name to aid in identifying the group that is present.
    • 12.8: Esters
      Esters are compounds that are known for their fruity or flowery smells. They are often synthesized in the lab by the reaction of an alcohol and a carboxylic acid. Thus, the name of an ester incorporates the name of the alcohol and carboxylic acid from which it is derived.
    • 12.9: Ethers
      Ethers are compounds with two alkyl groups bonded to the same oxygen atom. They are often referred to using their common name rather than their IUPAC name.
    • 12.10: For Future Use
    • 12.E: Exercises

    Contributors and Attributions


    Thumbnail Chapter 12: Jsmol rendering of propane (ChemLancer).

    12: Organic Chemistry is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by OpenStax.

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