The general theory of organic chemistry


I want to describe here what organic chemistry is for you, dear beginner. In this article you can find the simplest explanation of things such as what organic chemistry can, what organic chemists do, when this science branch was based and, finally, where it is applied.

What is organic chemistry?

Organic chemistry is wide independent chemistry science branch, which studies of structures, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-containing compounds. Vast majority of organic compounds contain carbon and hydrogen atoms, but they can also include any number of other elements (e.g., nitrogen, oxygen, halogens, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur). Carbon-containing compounds with other elements belong to organic compounds except for simple compounds such as carbon oxides, carbides, carbonic acid and its salts.

Originally limited to the study of compounds produced by living organisms, organic chemistry has been widened to include human-made substances (e.g., plastics).

Carbon can form covalent bonds with itself and other elements to make a breathtaking variety of organic structures. Moreover, carbon element atoms can form double and triple bonds between themselves and other elements. These characteristics condition enormous number of carbon-contain compounds existence which can’t be counted. Scientists have discovered more than ~18 mln. organic compounds, while ~100 thouthants inorganic compounds have been discovered. In organic chemistry, we will learn about the chemical reactions, which chemists use to synthesize insane carbon based structures, as well as the analytical methods to characterize them. Simply say, organic chemistry is like building with molecular Legos.

An organic compounds value is enormous by reason that life on Earth is connected with an organic substances appearance and transformations. In any creature millions organic reactions, which are maintaining breath, digestion, reproduction processes, functioning of every cell, organ or tissue, are carried out. Modern chemistry achievements allows to obtain absolutely diverse organic compounds and materials: artificial fibers, synthetic rubbers, dyes, plastics, vitamins, hormones, drugs, antibiotics and so on. They are produced during an industrial organic synthesis from raw materials such as natural and associated gas, oil, coal and lignite, timber, oil shale, agricultural waste and etc.

Brief historical review

The modern organic chemistry theory is based on the Chemical structure theory, which was made by A.Butlerov and exprored by A.Kekulé and A.Couper. It was Butlerov who coined the phrase “chemical structure” in the following quotation from an article published in 1861:

«…the chemical nature of a compound molecule depends on the nature and quantity of its elementary constituents and its Chemical structure.» [1]

Kekulé, Couper and Butlerov organic chemistry theory

Main points

1. Atoms are bounded between each other in molecules in accordance with their valence. Carbon atoms always has valence 4 in organic compounds.

2. Although substances properties are determined by a qualitative and quantitative content, atomic bonds sequences in molecules, their mutual arrangement and influence on each other also have fundamental value. In total, that is named Chemical structure.

3. Molecules of an every substance have unique chemical structures, which can be explored in concordance with their properties. It mens that an every substance has only one chemical structure (formula).

4. Atoms and atomic groups of all organic substances have a mutual impact on each other.

Where is organic chemistry used?

Organic compounds are all around us. Many modern materials are at least partially made up of organic compounds. They play central role to economic growth, and are foundational to biochemistry, biotechnology and medicine fields. Examples of where you can find organic substances include agrichemicals, coatings, cosmetics, detergents, dyestuff, food, fuel, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, rubber and etc.

What do organic chemists do?

Organic chemistry is a really creative science that allows chemists to make and study molecules and compounds. Organic chemists carry out numerous experiment in order to find new approaches in chemistry science, make criate new substances and improve already known synthesis methods.

[1] “Archived copy” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-03-31. Retrieved 2005-03-30.