Introduction to Organic Chemistry

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Organic chemistry is the class that breaks the student. Without organic chemistry, it would be pretty dull. Organic Chemistry deals with carbon based molecules, and they are everywhere. What do cocaine and your mom have in common? Carbon. Because there are so many molecules and reactions involving carbon, organic chemistry is notorious for it's miserable lectures and tests.

So what is so special about carbon? carbon likes to form four covalent bonds with other atoms, whether they be hydrogen, other elements, or another carbon atom. These molecules formed by various elements can be classified into functional groups. These functional groups react with other elements, often reacting in similar fashions. These reactions can be predicted visually with a mechanism. A mechanism is a way of drawing the molecules and their reactions in order to fully understand the chemistry.

There are thirteen different functional groups in organic chemistry. Alkanes are the simplest of molecules. They are carbon-carbon single bonds. Alkenes are similar to alkanes as they are carbon-carbon double bonds. There are also alkynes which are carbon-carbon triple bonds. It is noteworthy that one can find more than one functional group in a molecule. There are aromatic hydrocarbons; they form when carbon has alternating double and single bonds forming into a ring. Alcohols are a functional group that has oxygen with hydrogen bonded to a carbon atom. There are ketones which have a carbon double bonded to oxygen with two single bonds to two identical carbon chains. An aldehyde is a carbon atom that is double bonded to an oxygen atom and bonded to hydrogen as well as a single carbon chain. Carboxylic acids are also included in the functional groups. They are when a carbon atom is bonded to oxygen with hydrogen, and then a double bond to an oxygen atom. An ester is when a carbon atom is double bonded to an oxygen atom and then bonded to an oxygen atom with a carbon change attached to the oxygen atom. An amide is when a carbon atom is double bonded to oxygen, and then single bonded to nitrogen with two hydrogen atoms. Ether is when there is an oxygen atom has two single bonds to two identical carbon chains. There are also nitriles which have a carbon atom triple bonded to nitrogen. Last but not least is the halide. A halide is a functional group where the carbon chain is attached to a halogen. A halogen can be astatine, bromine, chlorine, fluorine, or iodine.

Organic chemistry explores many aspects of the carbon atom. It explores the properties, structures, synthesis, and reactions of the various functional groups formed due to carbon.

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