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Organic Chemistry Introduction

By HWA | Publish On: May 22, 2014 | Posted In:

As we all know, organic chemistry is part of general chemistry. The only difference between general chemistry and organic chemistry is that organic chemistry is the study of organic compounds and organic materials mainly based on carbon. Organic chemistry studies the physical and chemical properties and chemical reactivity of these organic compounds and materials.

The most common form of organic compounds that we know are hydrocarbons. Various fuels that we use ranging from coal, gasoline, diesel, natural gas, methane, propane, butane, etc.  Study of organic chemistry is important because of the fact that organic chemistry gave rise to various other disciplines such as drug manufacturing and biochemistry. Organic chemistry also helped in inventing plastics, polymers, explosive materials, etc.

Now, a question arises. Do all the organic compounds or organic materials the same. The answer is disappointingly, no. Each organic compound or material is essentially different from other types of organic materials. And there are plenty of organic chemicals that we know about. It is estimated that there are around 16 million known organic compounds, today and this number seems to be the tip of the iceberg because, there is an estimated 1063 ways of making new organic compounds. In other words, there is lot more to learn about organic chemistry than what we know today.

But, these organic compounds can be characterized, divided and grouped into several groups depending upon their chemical and physical properties.

Some of the groups include

Aliphatic compounds: Aliphatic compounds are those where bonds of carbon and hydrogen along with oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and chlorine exist. Some of the well known aliphatic compounds include methane, ethyne, ethene, ethane, propyne, propene, propane, butyne, butene, butane, cyclohexene, cycloheptane, cubane, polyethylene, etc. As we know, these compounds are flammable and are used as fuel.

Aromatic compounds: Aromatic compounds in organic chemistry are grouped essentially based on delocalization of electrons in the molecule. One of the major distinguishing property of an aromatic compound is the covalent bonds that exist within the molecules. The molecules of aromatic compounds are chemically more stable than similar compounds that are not aromatic. Many of the compounds grouped under aromatic, actually give out a good or pleasant smells. The study of aromatic compounds is important because amino acids such as histidine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, tyrosine, etc are categorized as aromatic compounds.

Polymers: Polymers is another general group of carbon atoms. Unlike the hydrocarbon compounds, these polymer groups have the ability to form long chains of carbon-carbon bonds. As there are numerous chains or links of carbon molecules formed, hence the name polymerization or polymers. Some of the well known polymers include polystyrene, polyesters, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinylchloride, etc.

Biomolecules: Biomolecules are of great interest not only for chemists, but also for biochemists. Biomolecules are those set of complex long-chain molecules that form DNA, RNA, polysaccharides, amino acids and lipids, etc.

These are some of the compound groups in organic chemistry.

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