Organic Chemistry Introduction
As we all know, organic chemistry is part of general chemistry. The only difference between general
chemistry and organic chemistry is that organic chemistry is the study of organic compounds and
organic materials mainly based on carbon. Organic chemistry studies the physical and chemical
properties and chemical reactivity of these organic compounds and materials.
The most common form of organic compounds that we know are hydrocarbons. Various fuels that
we use ranging from coal, gasoline, diesel, natural gas, methane, propane, butane, etc. Study of
organic chemistry is important because of the fact that organic chemistry gave rise to various other
disciplines such as drug manufacturing and biochemistry. Organic chemistry also helped in inventing
plastics, polymers, explosive materials, etc.
Now, a question arises. Do all the organic compounds or organic materials the same. The answer is
disappointingly, no. Each organic compound or material is essentially different from other types of
organic materials. And there are plenty of organic chemicals that we know about. It is estimated that
there are around 16 million known organic compounds, today and this number seems to be the tip
of the iceberg because, there is an estimated 1063
ways of making new organic compounds. In other
words, there is lot more to learn about organic chemistry than what we know today.
But, these organic compounds can be characterized, divided and grouped into several groups
depending upon their chemical and physical properties.
Some of the groups include
Aliphatic compounds: Aliphatic compounds are those where bonds of carbon and hydrogen along
with oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and chlorine exist. Some of the well known aliphatic compounds
include methane, ethyne, ethene, ethane, propyne, propene, propane, butyne, butene, butane,
cyclohexene, cycloheptane, cubane, polyethylene, etc. As we know, these compounds are
flammable and are used as fuel.
Aromatic compounds: Aromatic compounds in organic chemistry are grouped essentially based on
delocalization of electrons in the molecule. One of the major distinguishing property of an aromatic
compound is the covalent bonds that exist within the molecules. The molecules of aromatic
compounds are chemically more stable than similar compounds that are not aromatic. Many of the
compounds grouped under aromatic, actually give out a good or pleasant smells. The study of
aromatic compounds is important because amino acids such as histidine, phenylalanine, tryptophan,
tyrosine, etc are categorized as aromatic compounds.
Polymers: Polymers is another general group of carbon atoms. Unlike the hydrocarbon compounds,
these polymer groups have the ability to form long chains of carbon-carbon bonds. As there are
numerous chains or links of carbon molecules formed, hence the name polymerization or polymers.
Some of the well known polymers include polystyrene, polyesters, polyethylene, polypropylene,
Biomolecules: Biomolecules are of great interest not only for chemists, but also for biochemists.
Biomolecules are those set of complex long-chain molecules that form DNA, RNA, polysaccharides,
amino acids and lipids, etc.
These are some of the compound groups in organic chemistry.