Organic Chemistry Definition | What Is Organic Chemistry | WorldOfChemicals

Organic chemistry – study of carbon compounds

Category : General Chemicals
Published by : Data Research Analyst,

Organic Chemistry Definition 

Organic chemistry can be defined as the study of the structure, properties, and reactions of organic compounds and organic materials, i.e., matter in its various forms that contain carbon atoms. Carbon is unique in the variety and extent of structures that can result from the three-dimensional connections of its atoms.

The range of chemicals studied in organic chemistry include hydrocarbons, as well as myriad compositions based on carbon, but also containing other elements like oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus and the radiostable elements of the halogens.

A major focus of organic chemistry is the isolation, purification, and structural study of these naturally occurring substances. Many natural products are simple molecules. Examples include formic acid (HCO2H) in ants, ethyl alcohol (C2H5OH) in fermenting fruit, and oxalic acid (C2H2O4) in rhubarb leaves.

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, 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.

In 1828 Friedrich Wohler 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 Wohler synthesis.

A crucial breakthrough for organic chemistry was the concept of chemical structure, developed independently in 1858 by both Friedrich August Kekule and Archibald Scott Couper. 

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 discovery of petroleum and the development of the petrochemical industry spurred the development of organic chemistry.

The majority of chemical compounds occurring in biological organisms are in fact carbon compounds, so the association between organic chemistry and biochemistry.

The 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. 

Organic 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 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 the 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. uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. X