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  • Hydrocarbons
  • Alcohols and Ethers
  • Aldehydes, Ketones, Carboxylic Acids, and Esters
  • Amines and Amides
This figure includes four photographs. The first is of an orange and black butterfly on a large leaf. The second shows a seam on a worn pair of blue jeans. The third image is of a red plastic drinking cup. The last image shows the blue flames of a lit burner on a gas stove.
All organic compounds contain carbon and most are formed by living things, although they are also formed by geological and artificial processes. (credit left: modification of work by Jon Sullivan; credit left middle: modification of work by Deb Tremper; credit right middle: modification of work by “annszyp”/Wikimedia Commons; credit right: modification of work by George Shuklin)

All living things on earth are formed mostly of carbon compounds. The prevalence of carbon compounds in living things has led to the epithet “carbon-based” life. The truth is we know of no other kind of life. Early chemists regarded substances isolated from organisms (plants and animals) as a different type of matter that could not be synthesized artificially, and these substances were thus known as organic compounds . The widespread belief called vitalism held that organic compounds were formed by a vital force present only in living organisms. The German chemist Friedrich Wohler was one of the early chemists to refute this aspect of vitalism, when, in 1828, he reported the synthesis of urea, a component of many body fluids, from nonliving materials. Since then, it has been recognized that organic molecules obey the same natural laws as inorganic substances, and the category of organic compounds has evolved to include both natural and synthetic compounds that contain carbon. Some carbon-containing compounds are not classified as organic, for example, carbonates and cyanides, and simple oxides, such as CO and CO 2 . Although a single, precise definition has yet to be identified by the chemistry community, most agree that a defining trait of organic molecules is the presence of carbon as the principal element, bonded to hydrogen and other carbon atoms.

Today, organic compounds are key components of plastics, soaps, perfumes, sweeteners, fabrics, pharmaceuticals, and many other substances that we use every day. The value to us of organic compounds ensures that organic chemistry is an important discipline within the general field of chemistry. In this chapter, we discuss why the element carbon gives rise to a vast number and variety of compounds, how those compounds are classified, and the role of organic compounds in representative biological and industrial settings.

Questions & Answers

what is chemistry?
Archie Reply
forms of biotechnology
Ocheme Reply
What is a mole?
Henry Reply
pls give me 3 type of transition metal
Destiny Reply
Copper, Scandium, Vanadium, Iron, Chromium, Cobalt
Jumaane-Kalif
ion zinc hydrogen
Abdul
that is not true
Jumaane-Kalif
stop posting foolishness
Jumaane-Kalif
how do I name compounds
Stanley Reply
depends on the compound. as you may know there's transition metal compounds and there's organic compounds and so on and so forth.
Jumaane-Kalif
what is electricity
Lorrita Reply
electricity refers to the flow electrons
John
Hi. please can you tell me more on chemical equation
Gift Reply
When 1 or 2 chemicals react, they rearrange their atomic composition forming new compounds. The total mass before and after is the same/ constant. Chemical equations of same reactants react in same ratios e.g. 1 Na ion reacts with 1 water molecule or a multipier like 1 mole of Na ions react with 1
Abdelkarim
Mole of water molecules. In that example we multipied by 6.02*10^23 or avogadro constant (L). Or 2 Na+ ions with two water molecules. The arrow means '' to form '' Some times conditions or reactants are written above the arrow like H+ or enzyme or temper, sometimes physical states are written
Abdelkarim
Beside the chemical Aqueous (aq) which means solute dissolved on water. Solid (s) etc Some chemical equations are written next to it ΔH= # which means enthalpy change which describes if the reaction is endothermic (+) or exothermic (-).
Abdelkarim
Some are reversible and have half double arrow sign.
Abdelkarim
what is the meaning of atoma
Ibrahim Reply
what is theory
Michael Reply
what is chemical compound
Lorrita
A compound is the result of chemical bonding between 2 or more different elements.
Abdelkarim
Why is an atom electrically neutral?
Clara
the same number of electron , proton present in an atom.thats why it is electrically neutral
debibandita
difference between Amine and amide
Amadu Reply
what is the difference between alkanal and alkanone
Amadu
difference between alkanol and alkanal
Michael
whaatt
Saturday
you are not well at all
Ibrahim
is organic compounds used for drying agent
Olawale Reply
Sulfuric acid is used as a drying agent.
Abdelkarim
what is an atom
John Reply
An atom is the smallest part of an element, for instance gold atoms are the smallest part of gold that can enter a reaction. An atom must consist protons and electrons of equal number. You can think of those subatomic particles as spheres, but not orbiting randomly they move in specific way in
Abdelkarim
That was partially described mathematically. As a muslim, we believe that god created all matter from nothing. He is the Able, and only who can create matter in the begging in the big bang that was described in the Quran in chapter 17 verse 30, 1400 years ago, you can read it from internet.
Abdelkarim
what is electron affinity
John
do you have a private jet
Ibrahim
what is acid
Olubodun Reply
Proton donor (H+). Like in lemons, oranges and some medicines.
Abdelkarim
what is titration? and how can i get my readings?
favor Reply
what is electrolysis?
favor Reply
what is the formula you use when calculating for gas law?
favor
PV=nrt
Farid
electro-means electricity while lysis-means splitting up so electrolysis simply means splitting up by means of electric current
John
good day. how may I see previous question asked in this chat, please?
Asha
Asha, A person named Favor asked what is meant by the term electrolysis
John

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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