3.1 Introduction to organic chemistry

Organic chemistry is the study of the millions of covalent compounds of the element carbon.

These structurally diverse compounds vary from naturally occurring petroleum fuels to DNA and the molecules in living systems. Organic compounds also demonstrate human ingenuity in the vast range of synthetic materials created by chemists. Many of these compounds are used as drugs, medicines and plastics.

Organic compounds are named using the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) system and the structure or formula of molecules can be represented in various different ways.

Organic mechanisms are studied, which enable reactions to be explained.

  • Organic nomenclature - Organic compounds can be represented by: • empirical formula • molecular formula • general formula • structural formula • displayed formula • skeletal formula. The characteristics of a homologous series, a series of compounds containing the same functional group. IUPAC rules for nomenclature. Students should be able to: • draw structural, displayed and skeletal formulas for given organic compounds • apply IUPAC
  • Organic reaction mechanisms (nomenclature) - Reactions of organic compounds can be explained using mechanisms. Free-radical mechanisms: • the unpaired electron in a radical is represented by a dot • the use of curly arrows is not required for radical mechanisms. Students should be able to: • write balanced equations for the steps in a free-radical mechanism.   Other mechanisms: • the formation of a covalent bond is shown by
  • Isomerism - Define Structural isomerism Define Stereoisomerism Define   E–Z isomerism is a form of stereoisomerism resulting from the restricted rotation about the planar carbon=carbon double bond. Students should be able to: • define the term structural isomer • draw the structures of chain, position and functional group isomers • define the term stereoisomer • draw the structural formulas of E and Z isomers. Assessment