Organic Chemistry - Where To Begin

OK then, so… with literally millions of different organic molecules now available on the market you could be forgiven for not having the foggiest idea of where to begin with dealing with all this stuff.

But, always try to keep in mind about what’s actually goin’ on here, that carbon has all the tricks when it comes to bonding.

For example, it can bond with itself… carbon to carbon (as in ethane), to other elements such as hydrogen (as is seen in methane), or, to oxygen (as what happens in methanol).

Multiple bonds

But there’s more, oh aye, carbon can also form multiple bonds to other carbon atoms (like the double bonds in ethylene), or, double bonds to other elements like oxygen (as is found in acetone). Carbon can even form triple bonds to other carbon atoms if required (like in acetylene), or, triple bonds to other elements… like nitrogen as is seen in hydrogen cyanide (hydrocyanic acid).

Structures

Right then, so, all this ‘bonding potential’ really allows carbon to come up with all kinds of different shapes and arrangements. You’ve got long chains (such as in heptane), rings (e.g. benzene), long chain and ring combos (cholesterol), and even, more complex stuff, as is found in camphor.

Yes, simple carbon bonding can lead to pretty impressive structures… and that’s it basically – it’s because carbon can do this type of thing whereas most other chemical elements struggle is what really makes carbon the element of choice and gives it its huge role in supporting life.  

© Willow Science 2017