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Compounds isolated from nonliving systems, such as rocks and ores, the atmosphere, and the oceans, were labeled inorganic. Instead of a bewildering array of individual carbon compounds, we can study a few members of a homologous series and from them deduce some of the properties of other compounds in the series. However, this division seems more reasonable when we consider that of tens of millions of compounds that have been characterized, the overwhelming majority are carbon compounds. If you continue browsing the site, you agree to the use of cookies on this website. The principle of homology gives organization to organic chemistry in much the same way that the periodic table gives organization to inorganic chemistry. You can number the parent chain from either direction as long as you are consistent; just don’t change directions before the structure is done. The functional group, a structural arrangement of atoms and/or bonds, is largely responsible for the properties of organic compound families. Figure 2-1: Ball-and-stick model of $$CX_4$$, Figure 2-2: Ball-and-stick models of some simple organic molecules. A particular functional group will almost always display its characteristic chemical behavior when it is present in a compound. Chemists often use condensed structural formulas to alleviate these problems. For example, the molecular formula C4H10 tells us there are 4 carbon atoms and 10 hydrogen atoms in a molecule, but it doesn’t distinguish between butane and isobutane. Ideally, a model should reflect not only the size and shape of the molecule it represents but also the flexibility of the molecule. Contrary to the impression you may get from structural formulas, complex molecules are not flat and formless, but have well-defined spatial arrangements that are determined by the lengths and directional character of their chemical bonds. In this chapter, we make a brief yet systematic study of some of organic compound families. Nevertheless, it is useful to compare typical members of each class, as in Table $$\PageIndex{1}$$. For example, an alkane with eight carbon atoms has the molecular formula C8H(2 × 8) + 2 = C8H18. This is why many other structures have been introduced, which can be used to portray the structure of an organic compound. As we noted, there are several different kinds of hydrocarbons. There are 3 pentanes, 5 hexanes, 9 heptanes, and 18 octanes. To describe functional groups and explain why they are useful in the study of organic chemistry. A structural formula shows all the carbon and hydrogen atoms and the bonds attaching them. He reacted silver cyanate (AgOCN) and ammonium chloride (NH4Cl), expecting to get ammonium cyanate (NH4OCN). In our study of organic chemistry, it will become extremely important to be able to quickly recognize the most common functional groups, because they are the key structural elements that define how organic molecules react. Therefore ball-and-stick models correspond better to the behavior of actual molecules if the connectors representing single bonds are made to be rather stiff. Today organic chemistry is the study of the chemistry of the carbon compounds, and inorganic chemistry is the study of the chemistry of all other elements. When these rules are followed, every unique compound receives its own exclusive name. Carbon is unique among the other elements in that its atoms can form stable covalent bonds with each other and with atoms of other elements in a multitude of variations. The principle of homology allows us to write a general formula for alkanes: CnH2n + 2. $AgOCN + NH_4Cl \rightarrow AgCl + NH_4OCN \label{Eq1}$. While the ball-and-stick models of molecules are very useful for visualizing the relative positions of the atoms in space, they are unsatisfactory whenever we also want to show how large the atoms are. Scientists of the 18th and early 19th centuries studied compounds obtained from plants and animals and labeled them organic because they were isolated from “organized” (living) systems.