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. Study of structure includes using spectroscopy and other physical and chemical methods to determine the chemical composition and 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 both their preparation—by synthesis or by other means—as well as their subsequent reactivities, 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 compositions based on carbon but containing other elements. Organic chemistry overlaps with many areas including medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, organometallic chemistry, and polymer chemistry, as well as many aspects of materials science.
The structural formula of a chemical compound is a graphic representation of the molecular structure, showing how the atoms are arranged. The chemical bonding within the molecule is also shown, either explicitly or implicitly. Also several other formats are used, as in chemical databases, such as SMILES, InChI and CML.
Unlike formulaschemical or nameschemical , structural formulas provide a representation of the molecular structure. Chemists nearly always describe a chemical reaction or synthesis using structural formulas rather than chemical names, because the structural formulas allow the chemist to visualize the molecules and the changes that occur.
A chemical compound is a pure chemical substance consisting of two or more different chemical elements that can be separated into simpler substances by chemical reactions. Chemical compounds have a unique and defined chemical structure; they consist of a fixed ratio of atoms that are held together in a defined spatial arrangement by chemical bonds. Chemical compounds can be molecular compounds held together by covalent bonds, salts held together by ionic bonds, intermetallic compounds held together by metallic bonds, or complexes held together by coordinate covalent bonds. Pure chemical elements are not considered chemical compounds, even if they consist of molecules that contain only multiple atoms of a single element (such as H2, S8, etc.), which are called diatomic molecules or polyatomic molecules.
Structural isomerism, or constitutional isomerism (per IUPAC), is a form of isomerism in which molecules with the same molecular formula have bonded together in different orders, as opposed to stereoisomerism. There are multiple synonyms for constitutional isomers.
Three categories of constitutional isomers are skeletal, positional, and functional isomers. Positional isomers are also called regioisomers. Tautomers are subcategory of functional isomers.
In chemistry, the empirical formula of a chemical compound is the simplest positive integer ratio of atoms present in a compound. A simple example of this concept is that the empirical formula of hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2, would simply be HO.
An empirical formula makes no reference to isomerism, structure, or absolute number of atoms. The empirical formula is used as standard for most ionic compounds, such as 2CaCl, and for macromolecules, such as 2SiO.
A chemical formula is a way of expressing information about the proportions of atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound, using a single line of chemical element symbols, numbers, and sometimes also other symbols, such as parentheses, dashes, brackets, and plus (+) and minus (−) signs. These are limited to a single typographic line of symbols, which may include subscripts and superscripts. A chemical formula is not a chemical name, and it contains no words. Although a chemical formula may imply certain simple chemical structures, it is not the same as a full chemical structural formula. Chemical formulas are more limiting than chemical names and structural formulas.
The simplest types of chemical formulas are called empirical formulas, which use only letters and numbers indicating atomic proportional ratios (the numerical proportions of atoms of one type to those of other types). Molecular formulas indicate the simple numbers of each type of atom in a molecule of a molecular substance, and are thus sometimes the same as empirical formulas (for molecules that only have one atom of a particular type), and at other times require larger numbers than do empirical formulas. An example of the difference is the empirical formula for glucose, which is CH2O, while its molecular formula requires all numbers to be increased by a factor of six, giving C6H12O6.