Lets begin our discussion on one of the most profound branches of chemistry ,which deals mainly with only one element and its compounds, from the periodic table – CARBON! Organic chemistry is synonymous to the element CARBON.
Organic chemistry is a branch of chemistry that studies exclusively structure, properties ,reactions of organic materials and compounds i.e species containing carbon atoms in their structure.
[Note – In the above cyclic structures of benzene and furan, there is a C-atom at each corner of the structure(except where O is present) i.e –
We shall begin with studying the very basics of organic chemistry and later start discussing different chapters in detail.So, lets begin our journey into this amazing world of organic molecules !
What is so special about the element carbon, that it gets its own branch of chemistry?The answer is- it exhibits a property called ‘catenation‘.
Catenation is a property of binding of an element to itself through covalent bonds to form straight chain ,branched chain or ring molecules. It is the self linking property of an element. Carbon exhibits this property as it has 4 valence electrons ,which can be shared with another carbon atom to form a Carbon- Carbon Bond.
Carbon 1s2 2s2 2p2
Carbon atoms can bond with each other covalently in various ways to form a very wide range of compounds. This property is what makes carbon chemistry so unique and vast.
As seen in the above figure, 8 carbon atoms can be arranged in various ways to form different compounds(I am sure you can imagine, there are still other ways to arrange these 8 atoms).Thus, the scope of organic chemistry becomes very very vast.
General characteristics of organic compounds –
- All organic compounds contain carbon and hydrogen as main elements. Apart from these two other elements ,organic compounds contain other elements like oxygen, chlorine, bromine, nitrogen , sulphur etc.
Compounds which contain only carbon and hydrogen are called ‘Hydrocarbons‘.
- The chemical behaviour of organic compounds depends on the presence of certain atoms or group of atoms called the functional group. Compounds with similar functional groups have similar properties.e.g.-Amino group (-NH2 ) ,Carboxyl group (C=O), alcohol group (-OH).
3.Organic compounds are generally insoluble in water.However , they are soluble in organic solvents like ether, benzene, ethanol etc.
4.Many of them have low melting and boiling points.Many are volatile.e.g.-Acetone .
5.Organic compounds are flammable.
Examples of organic compounds-
We encounter innumerable organic compounds in our day to day lives. We as humans are Organic beings!! Our body is made up of many organic molecules like proteins , nucleic acids(DNA & RNA) , lipids ,Haemoglobin (found in blood)etc.The food we eat contains organic molecules – Carbohydrates,Lipids,proteins,vitamins etc.
Fuels, cosmetics, dyes,drugs ,biochemical industry – organic compounds are just everywhere!
Organic chemistry is at the heart of so many things! Lets start delving deeper into this amazing world of carbon compounds and find out all these molecules in our successive posts.Till then,
Be a perpetual student of life and keep learning..
Good Day !
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