Organic Chemistry Terms
AlcoholsAlcohols are hydrocarbons that contain a hydroxyl group: -OH. Alcohols are represented by a general formula, which is CnH2n+1OH.
AldehydesAn organic compound containing a functional group: -CHO. This group is always found at the end of the hydrocarbon (or the beginning), but it is never found "internal" to the hydrocarbon. The "R" indicates the location where any kind of hydrocarbon can be placed.
AlkanesAll the single bonds, all the single bonds…Alkanes are hydrocarbons containing only single bonds.
AlkenesThe carbon-carbon double form of hydrocarbons (C=C).
AlkynesThe carbon-carbon triple bond form of hydrocarbon (C=C).
AminesOrganic compounds that contain nitrogen, in the form of the functional group: –NH2. The nitrogen in amines contains a lone pair of electrons.
Amino AcidsOrganic compounds containing both an amine (-NH2) and a carboxylic acid (-COOH) functional group. Amino Acids are the building blocks of proteins.
AnionA negatively charged ion. Most often this is an atom that has lost a proton.
ArenesAn alternate term for an aromatic hydrocarbon
AromaticA hydrocarbon ring with alternating double and single bonds between carbon atoms. The best example of an aromatic ring is benzene.
Carboxylic AcidsA hydrocarbon containing a functional group consisting of a carbonyl (RR'C=O) and a hydroxyl (R-O-H) group.
CationA positively charged ion. Most often this is an atom that has lost an electron.
Chiral (also Known As Enantiomers)An object that cannot be superimposed on its mirror image. Human hands are perhaps the most universally recognized example of chirality, left and right hands look identical except for their opposite orientation.
Chirality CenterAn atom with four different atoms or groups attached to it.
Constitutional IsomersIsomers that differ in the order the atoms are placed. They have the same number of atoms, just in a different order.
Covalent BondA chemical bond where two atoms are sharing electrons.
DehydrationThe removal of water from a molecule.
DenaturedThe process by which proteins lose their 3-D (tertiary and secondary) structure by application of an external stress, most often heat.
Double BondA bond where four electrons are shared between two atoms.
ElectronegativityThe strength an atom has to attract electrons towards itself. Electronegative atoms always win at electron tug-of-war.
ElectrophileA molecule that seeks out electrons, also known as a Lewis Acid or an electron pair acceptor.
EthersA hydrocarbon containing a C-O-C unit. Ethers can also be represented as R-O-R'.
EstersA hydrocarbon containing a carbonyl (C=O) adjacent to an ether (C-O-C) linkage.
Free RadicalsA neutral atom containing an unpaired electron.
Functional GroupsAn atom, or group of atoms, that is responsible for reactivity of the molecule it is a part of.
HydrocarbonAn organic molecule containing only hydrogen and carbon atoms.
Hydrogen BondingAn attractive force between a polar hydrogen atom and an electronegative atom (remember atoms that use the "FON" to make calls: F, O, and N).
Ionic BondA chemical bond between two oppositely charged particles (usually a cation and an anion). This bond works like a magnet: opposites attract.
IsomerCompounds that have the same molecular formula but different structural formulas. For example, pentane and isopentane have the same molecular formula, but their different structural formula gives them different physical properties: same molecules, different order.
KetonesA functional group consisting of an internal carbonyl group (C=O) bonded to two other carbon atoms, represented by the drawing:
Lewis StructureA chemical formula where electrons are represented with dots. Covalent bonds are represented with a line connecting two atoms—the line represents two electrons.
Molecular FormulaShows the number and kinds of atoms in a molecule.
Nucleic AcidsBiological molecules, such as DNA and RNA, composed of a nitrogen base, a pentose sugar, and a phosphate group.
NucleophilesAn atom that has an unshared electron pair.
Octet RuleWhen forming compounds, atoms gain, lose, or share electrons so that their number of valence electrons equals 8.
PolymersLarge macromolecules composed of many similar (sometimes identical) smaller molecules, or monomers, linked together.
ProteinsA polypeptide composed of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds.
ResonanceThe ability of electrons to "shuffle," or alternate, between bonds, making the molecule extremely stable. The best example of this is benzene.
StereochemistryThe "3-D" arrangements of hydrocarbons.
StereoisomersMolecules that have the same molecular formula and sequence of atoms yet differ in their 3-D orientation.
Triple BondA bond where six electrons are shared between two atoms.
Unsaturated HydrocarbonsA hydrocarbon that can undergo addition reactions, meaning it contains a double or a triple bond.
Valence ElectronsThe outermost electrons of an atom.
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