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Organic chemistry

Organic chemistry is the branch of chemistry concerned with the study of carbon-containing molecules known as organic compounds (except carbon dioxide and monoxide). Although there is an overlap with biochemistry, the latter is the specific study of the molecules made by living organisms.

Some of the classes of substances studied in organic chemistry include: aliphatic compounds which deals with chains of carbon which can be modified by functional groups; aromatic compounds which are compounds having a benzene ring or similar group; heterocyclic compounds, compounds which include non-carbon atoms as part of a ring structure; physiologically active compounds[?] which have an effect on the human body; and polymers - long chains of repeating groups.

Table of contents

Aliphatic compounds Hydrocarbons -- Alkanes -- Alkenes -- Dienes or Alkadienes -- Alkynes -- Halogenoalkanes - Alcohols -- Ethers -- Aldehydes -- Ketones - Carboxylic acids -- Esters -- Carbohydrates -- Alicyclic compounds -- Amines -- Amides -- Amino acids

Aromatic compounds

Arenes or Aromatic hydrocarbons -- Benzene -- Aromatic amines[?] -- Phenols

Heterocyclic compounds Pyrrole -- Porphyrin -- Chlorin -- Corrin Physiologically active compounds

Polymers Polymer -- condensation polymer

Concepts Organic nomenclature -- Chemical formula -- structural formula -- skeletal formula[?] --Organic reactions


For some time it was believed that organic compounds could be produced only by living organisms (hence the name) until the synthesis of urea by Friedrich Wöhler in 1828.

See also: Timeline of biology and organic chemistry

Characterisitics of organic substances

The reason that there are so many carbon compounds is that carbon has the ability to form many carbon chains of different lengths, and rings of different sizes. A lot of carbon compounds are extremely sensitive to heat, and generally decompose below 300'C. They tend not to be so soluble in water compared to many inorganic salts. In contrast to such salts, they tend to be much more soluble in organic solvents such as ether or alcohol. Organic compounds are covalently bonded.

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