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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

The reaction of aceto nitrile with propane in the presence of the acid
Explain this paragraph in short
Manish Reply
What is solid state?
Manish Reply
What is chemical reaction
transforming reactants to product(s)
Example of Lewis acid
Chidera Reply
Example of Lewis acid
Anything with an empty orbital... the hydrogen ion is the most common example. BH3 is the typical example, but any metal in a coordination complex can be considered a Lewis acid.
okay thanks
aluminium and sulphur react to give aluminium sulfide.How many grams of Al are required to produce 100g of aluminium sulphide
Soni Reply
aluminium and sulphur react to give aluminium sulphide how many grams of Al are required to produce 100g of aluminium sulphide?
aluminium and sulphur react to give aluminium sulphide how many grams of Al are required to produce 100g of aluminium sulphide?
150 comes from?
thank you very much
molar mass of Al2S3
Why can't atom be created or destroyed
Jacaranda Reply
matter simply converts to pure energy
explain how to distinguish ethanol from a sample of ethanoic acid by chemical test
Alice Reply
explain how ethanol can be distinguished from ethanoic acid by chemical test
Using a suitable experiment, describe how diffusion occurs in gases.
Melody Reply
what is electrolytes?
charity Reply
substance which splits into ions during melting or dissolving
on passing electric current though electrode
what is a radical
Jacob Reply
State that use law of partial pressure in a gas jar containing a gas and water what is the total pressure composed of 272cm^3 of carbon (iv) oxide were collected over water at15°c and 782mmHg pressure. calculate the volume of the dry gas at stp(SVP of water at 15°c is 12mmHg)
Aminat Reply
was Dalton's second postulate"atoms of the same kind have have similar/same mass and size" Or " the one mentioned in B here?
Maureen Reply
what was name of the Greek philosophers
Duku Reply
which of HF and HI is more acidic
Sahr Reply
HF is
HI is stronger than HF (greater size of I courses greater length of bond)
HI is a stronger acid due to less efficient orbital overlap. HF will react with with glass and extract calcium from bones, but those hazards are not because it's a stronger acid, but because it contains fluorine.
they are noble gases
Adum Reply

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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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