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Chemistry LibreTexts

07: Chapter 7 Chirality

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  • The symmetry of a molecule can plan an important role in its properties. Molecules that are not symmetrical have a sense of “Handedness” - or chirality. The word “chiral” derives from the Greek word for hand. Chirality is particularly important when considering biological molecules such as sugars, nucleic acids, drugs, etc.

    The neptunea is the a sea snail.  The shells have a twist, but the two shells in the image twist in opposite directions.  They are mirror images of one another, but not completely identical in three dimensions because of this difference in twisting direction.  

    objectives: learn vocabulary for chiral compounds, be able to identify chirality centers, be able to identify chiral and achiral compounds, be able to assign absolute stereochem (R/S configuration), understand how reactions affect the chirality of a compound