, CH4; the line-angle structural formula shows four carbon-hydrogen single bonds (σ, in black), and the typical 3D shape of tetrahedral molecules, with ~109° interior bond angles (in dashed-green).]] Organic chemistry is a chemistry subdiscipline involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, and reactions of organic compounds and organic materials, i.e., matter in its various forms that contain carbon atoms.Clayden, J.; Greeves, N. and Warren, S. (2012) Organic Chemistry. Oxford University Press. pp. 1–15. . Study of structure includes many physical and chemical methods to determine the chemical composition and the chemical constitution of organic compounds and materials. Study of properties includes both physical properties and chemical properties, and uses similar methods as well as methods to evaluate chemical reactivity, with the aim to understand the behavior of the organic matter in its pure form (when possible), but also in solutions, mixtures, and fabricated forms. The study of organic reactions includes probing their scope through use in preparation of target compounds (e.g., natural products, drugs, polymers, etc.) by chemical synthesis, as well as the focused study of the reactivities of individual organic molecules, both in the laboratory and via theoretical ( in silico) study. The range of chemicals studied in organic chemistry include hydrocarbons (compounds containing only carbon and hydrogen), as well as myriad compositions based always on carbon, but also containing other elements,Elschenbroich, C. (2006) Organometallics 3rd Ed., Wiley-VCHMorrison, Robert T.; Boyd, Robert N. and Boyd, Robert K. (1992) Organic Chemistry, 6th ed., Benjamin Cummings. especially oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus (these included in many organic chemicals in biology) and the radiostable elements of the halogens. In the modern era, the range extends further into the periodic table, with main group elements, including:
- Group 1 and 2 organometallic compounds, i.e., involving alkali (e.g., lithium, sodium, and potassium) or alkaline earth metals (e.g., magnesium)
- Metalloids (e.g., boron and silicon) or other metals (e.g., aluminium and tin)
HistoryBefore the nineteenth century, chemists generally believed that compounds obtained from living organisms were endowed with a vital force that distinguished them from inorganic compounds. According to the concept of vitalism (vital force theory), organic matter was endowed with a "vital force". During the first half of the nineteenth century, some of the first systematic studies of organic compounds were reported. Around 1816 Michel Chevreul started a study of soaps made from various fats and alkalis. He separated the different acids that, in combination with the alkali, produced the soap. Since these were all individual compounds, he demonstrated that it was possible to make a chemical change in various fats (which traditionally come from organic sources), producing new compounds, without "vital force". In 1828 Friedrich Wöhler produced the organic chemical urea (carbamide), a constituent of urine, from inorganic starting materials (the salts potassium cyanate and ammonium sulfate), in what is now called the Wöhler synthesis. Although Wöhler himself was cautious about claiming he had disproved vitalism, this was the first time a substance thought to be organic was synthesized in the laboratory without biological (organic) starting materials. The event is now generally accepted as indeed disproving the doctrine of vitalism. In 1856 William Henry Perkin, while trying to manufacture quinine accidentally produced the organic dye now known as Perkin's mauve. His discovery, made widely known through its financial success, greatly increased interest in organic chemistry. A crucial breakthrough for organic chemistry was the concept of chemical structure, developed independently in 1858 by both Friedrich August Kekulé and Archibald Scott Couper. Both researchers suggested that tetravalent carbon atoms could link to each other to form a carbon lattice, and that the detailed patterns of atomic bonding could be discerned by skillful interpretations of appropriate chemical reactions. The era of the pharmaceutical industry began in the last decade of the 19th century when the manufacturing of acetylsalicylic acidmore commonly referred to as aspirinin Germany was started by Bayer.Roberts, Laura (7 December 2010) History of Aspirin. The Telegraph By 1910 Paul Ehrlich and his laboratory group began developing arsenic-based arsphenamine, (Salvarsan), as the first effective medicinal treatment of syphilis, and thereby initiated the medical practice of chemotherapy. Ehrlich popularized the concepts of "magic bullet" drugs and of systematically improving drug therapies. His laboratory made decisive contributions to developing antiserum for diphtheria and standardizing therapeutic serums. . Its formula is often given as RuCl2(PCy3)2(=CHPh), where the ball-and-stick model is based on X-ray crystallography. The single metal atom ruthenium (Ru), (in turquoise), is at the very center of the structure; two chlorines (green), are bonded to the ruthenium atom—carbon atoms are black, hydrogens gray-white, and phosphorus orange. A phosphorus- ligand bond, tricyclohexyl phosphine, PCy, is below center; (another PCy ligand appears at the top of the image where its rings are obscuring one another). The ring group projecting to the right, an alkylidene, contains a metal-carbon double bond to ruthenium.]] Early examples of organic reactions and applications were often found because of a combination of luck and preparation for unexpected observations. The latter half of the 19th century however witnessed systematic studies of organic compounds. The development of synthetic indigo is illustrative. The production of indigo from plant sources dropped from 19,000 tons in 1897 to 1,000 tons by 1914 thanks to the synthetic methods developed by Adolf von Baeyer. In 2002, 17,000 tons of synthetic indigo were produced from petrochemicals.Steingruber, Elmar (2004) "Indigo and Indigo Colorants" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. In the early part of the 20th century, polymers and enzymes were shown to be large organic molecules, and petroleum was shown to be of biological origin. The multiple-step synthesis of complex organic compounds is called total synthesis. Total synthesis of complex natural compounds increased in complexity to glucose and terpineol. For example, cholesterol-related compounds have opened ways to synthesize complex human hormones and their modified derivatives. Since the start of the 20th century, complexity of total syntheses has been increased to include molecules of high complexity such as lysergic acid and vitamin B12. of vitamin B12 marked a major achievement in organic chemistry.]] The discovery of petroleum and the development of the petrochemical industry spurred the development of organic chemistry. Converting individual petroleum compounds into different types of compounds by various chemical processes led to organic reactions enabling a broad range of industrial and commercial products including, among (many) others: plastics, synthetic rubber, organic adhesives, and various property-modifying petroleum additives and catalysts. The majority of chemical compounds occurring in biological organisms are in fact carbon compounds, so the association between organic chemistry and biochemistry is so close that biochemistry might be regarded as in essence a branch of organic chemistry. Although the history of biochemistry might be taken to span some four centuries, fundamental understanding of the field only began to develop in the late 19th century and the actual term biochemistry was coined around the start of 20th century. Research in the field increased throughout the twentieth century, without any indication of slackening in the rate of increase, as may be verified by inspection of abstraction and indexing services such as BIOSIS Previews and Biological Abstracts, which began in the 1920s as a single annual volume, but has grown so drastically that by the end of the 20th century it was only available to the everyday user as an online electronic database.Allan, Barbara. Livesey, Brian (1994). How to Use Biological Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts and Index Chemicus. Gower.
CharacterizationSince organic compounds often exist as mixtures, a variety of techniques have also been developed to assess purity, especially important being chromatography techniques such as HPLC and gas chromatography. Traditional methods of separation include distillation, crystallization, and solvent extraction. Organic compounds were traditionally characterized by a variety of chemical tests, called "wet methods", but such tests have been largely displaced by spectroscopic or other computer-intensive methods of analysis.Shriner, R.L.; Hermann, C.K.F.; Morrill, T.C.; Curtin, D.Y. and Fuson, R.C. (1997) The Systematic Identification of Organic Compounds. John Wiley & Sons, Listed in approximate order of utility, the chief analytical methods are:
- Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is the most commonly used technique, often permitting complete assignment of atom connectivity and even stereochemistry using correlation spectroscopy. The principal constituent atoms of organic chemistry – hydrogen and carbon – exist naturally with NMR-responsive isotopes, respectively 1H and 13C.
- Elemental analysis: A destructive method used to determine the elemental composition of a molecule. See also mass spectrometry, below.
- Mass spectrometry indicates the molecular weight of a compound and, from the fragmentation patterns, its structure. High resolution mass spectrometry can usually identify the exact formula of a compound and is used in lieu of elemental analysis. In former times, mass spectrometry was restricted to neutral molecules exhibiting some volatility, but advanced ionization techniques allow one to obtain the "mass spec" of virtually any organic compound.
- Crystallography can be useful for determining molecular geometry when a single crystal of the material is available and the crystal is representative of the sample. Highly automated software allows a structure to be determined within hours of obtaining a suitable crystal.
PropertiesPhysical properties of organic compounds typically of interest include both quantitative and qualitative features. Quantitative information includes melting point, boiling point, and index of refraction. Qualitative properties include odor, consistency, solubility, and color.
Melting and boiling propertiesOrganic compounds typically melt and many boil. In contrast, while inorganic materials generally can be melted, many do not boil, tending instead to degrade. In earlier times, the melting point (m.p.) and boiling point (b.p.) provided crucial information on the purity and identity of organic compounds. The melting and boiling points correlate with the polarity of the molecules and their molecular weight. Some organic compounds, especially symmetrical ones, sublime, that is they evaporate without melting. A well-known example of a sublimable organic compound is para-dichlorobenzene, the odiferous constituent of modern mothballs. Organic compounds are usually not very stable at temperatures above 300 °C, although some exceptions exist.
SolubilityNeutral organic compounds tend to be hydrophobic; that is, they are less soluble in water than in organic solvents. Exceptions include organic compounds that contain ionizable (which can be converted in ions) groups as well as low molecular weight alcohols, amines, and carboxylic acids where hydrogen bonding occurs. Organic compounds tend to dissolve in organic solvents. Solvents can be either pure substances like ether or ethyl alcohol, or mixtures, such as the paraffinic solvents such as the various petroleum ethers and white spirits, or the range of pure or mixed aromatic solvents obtained from petroleum or tar fractions by physical separation or by chemical conversion. Solubility in the different solvents depends upon the solvent type and on the functional groups if present in the solution.
Solid state propertiesVarious specialized properties of molecular crystals and organic polymers with conjugated systems are of interest depending on applications, e.g. thermo-mechanical and electro-mechanical such as piezoelectricity, electrical conductivity (see conductive polymers and organic semiconductors), and electro-optical (e.g. non-linear optics) properties. For historical reasons, such properties are mainly the subjects of the areas of polymer science and materials science.
NomenclatureThe names of organic compounds are either systematic, following logically from a set of rules, or nonsystematic, following various traditions. Systematic nomenclature is stipulated by specifications from IUPAC. Systematic nomenclature starts with the name for a parent structure within the molecule of interest. This parent name is then modified by prefixes, suffixes, and numbers to unambiguously convey the structure. Given that millions of organic compounds are known, rigorous use of systematic names can be cumbersome. Thus, IUPAC recommendations are more closely followed for simple compounds, but not complex molecules. To use the systematic naming, one must know the structures and names of the parent structures. Parent structures include unsubstituted hydrocarbons, heterocycles, and monofunctionalized derivatives thereof. Nonsystematic nomenclature is simpler and unambiguous, at least to organic chemists. Nonsystematic names do not indicate the structure of the compound. They are common for complex molecules, which includes most natural products. Thus, the informally named lysergic acid diethylamide is systematically named (6aR,9R)-N,N-diethyl-7-methyl-4,6,6a,7,8,9-hexahydroindolo- 4,3-fg quinoline-9-carboxamide. With the increased use of computing, other naming methods have evolved that are intended to be interpreted by machines. Two popular formats are SMILES and InChI.
Structural drawingsOrganic molecules are described more commonly by drawings or structural formulas, combinations of drawings and chemical symbols. The line-angle formula is simple and unambiguous. In this system, the endpoints and intersections of each line represent one carbon, and hydrogen atoms can either be notated explicitly or assumed to be present as implied by tetravalent carbon. The depiction of organic compounds with drawings is greatly simplified by the fact that carbon in almost all organic compounds has four bonds, nitrogen three, oxygen two, and hydrogen one.
Classification of organic compounds
Functional groupsThe concept of functional groups is central in organic chemistry, both as a means to classify structures and for predicting properties. A functional group is a molecular module, and the reactivity of that functional group is assumed, within limits, to be the same in a variety of molecules. Functional groups can have decisive influence on the chemical and physical properties of organic compounds. Molecules are classified on the basis of their functional groups. Alcohols, for example, all have the subunit C-O-H. All alcohols tend to be somewhat hydrophilic, usually form esters, and usually can be converted to the corresponding halides. Most functional groups feature heteroatoms (atoms other than C and H). Organic compounds are classified according to functional groups, alcohols, carboxylic acids, amines, etc.
Aliphatic compoundsThe aliphatic hydrocarbons are subdivided into three groups of homologous series according to their state of saturation:
- alkanes (paraffins): aliphatic hydrocarbons without any double or triple bonds, i.e. just C-C, C-H single bonds
- alkenes (olefins): aliphatic hydrocarbons which contain one or more double bonds, i.e. di-olefins (dienes) or poly-olefins.
- alkynes (acetylenes): aliphatic hydrocarbons which have one or more triple bonds.