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The different spatial arrangments that a molecule can adopt due to rotation about σ bonds are called conformations and hence conformational isomers orconformers.
The study of the energy changes that occur during these rotations is called conformational analysis.
This is important because the structure of a molecule can have a significant influence on the molecular properties, including dictating the outcome of a reaction. Although the ideas are developed for the simplest functional groups, the alkanes, the same principles can be expanded and applied to other functional groups