Organic chemistry is a branch within chemistry which deals with the study of chemical compounds containing carbon; their formation, their processes, properties, reactions and structure. Formerly, it was popular belief that it was very difficult to artificially synthesize compounds from living organisms. When it was realized later, that even those compounds could be treated in ways similar to the inorganic ones, in laboratories and through artificial processes, organic chemistry gained momentum.
Organic compounds are usually covalently bond which allows it to form unique structures in the form of long chains and rings. As opposed to inorganic compounds, organic compounds melt, decompose, sublime below 300 degrees. Solubility of organic compounds depends on solvent type and on functional groups. Perkin’s attempt to manufacture quinine which resulted in organic dye generated a lot of interest in organic chemistry.
Life depends on inorganic chemistry as well, and it is not always that organic compounds can be related to all the life processes taking place.
The production of organic molecules may include processes not including life. These include those enzymes that require other metals, like iron, rather than carbon. Elemental carbon and a few classes of carbon compounds are also considered inorganic. Organic compounds can be put to many uses in a number of applications. They are used in products like paints, plastics, foods, explosives and also form the basis of many natural and earthly life processes. They may even act as catalysts in biochemical reactions, owing to their varying reactivity.
The petrochemical industry was created by the discovery of petroleum and its separation into fractions. Conversion of compounds using different chemical processes also gave a boost to the petrochemical industry. To explain classification, in organic chemistry it is required that the relative arrangement of atoms within a molecule must be added for a full description. In short, organic substances are classified on the basis of their molecular arrangement and other constituents.
Compounds have been divided into functional groups and have further been distributed into sub classes. There are two major categories of compounds; namely the aliphatic compounds and the cyclic compounds.
The aliphatic compounds are further divided into 3 groups, homologous series, paraffin alkenes without any double or triple bonds or olefins alkenes with the a single or double bond and acetylenes alkenes with triple bonds. Aliphatic compounds may either be straight chained or branch chained ones which further affects characteristics like octane number or cetin number in petroleum chemistry.
Cyclic compounds maybe saturated or unsaturated. The cyclic hydrocarbons can be divided into two groups namely; salicylic and aromatics. The former type exists in the form of large rings while aromatics contain conjugated double bonds e.g. benzene.
In organic chemistry, carbon is believed to have the capability of forming certain compounds whose molecules can form a network by attaching themselves to each other. This process is known as polymerization and the chain that is formed is called polymers while monomer remains the source compound. Polymers can be artificially produced and are called industrial polymers while those occurring naturally or synthetic polymers are referred to as biopolymers e.g. Teflon, polythene, nylon etc. All these may be present in different varieties varying on the basis of compositions used to produce them.
Another important area of study that falls within organic chemistry is the bi molecular chemistry. It is of particular interest to biochemists. Biochemistry involves the study of the long chains bio polymers and amino acids, carbohydrates etc., basically, the multi-functional group molecules in living organisms. Animal biochemistry contains small molecule intermediates required to produce energy with the use of common hydrocarbons found in animals.
Fullerenes are among those compounds which have electronic properties due to their spherical structure. Organic compounds containing bonds of carbon along with nitrogen, oxygen and halogen are also classified within organic chemistry.
Organic reactions are chemical reactions which involve organic compounds and the reactions the compounds undergo are determined by the functional groups. Organic chemistry encompasses the study of all such reactions and is an applied science used in many areas of study, especially to design synthesis, analyze and put it to practical use.
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