Organic chemistry: alcohols

  Organic chemistry: alcohols

Alcohols are among the most part significant molecules in organic chemistry. They can be prepared from a lot of dissimilar kinds of compounds and they can be transformed into various types of compounds. Alcohols are molecules possessing the hydroxy functional group (-OH) that is bonded to carbon atom of an alkyl or substituted alkyl. The hydroxy functional group powerfully adds to the physical properties of alcohols.

Nomenclature of Alcohols

In the IUPAC system of nomenclature, functional groups are usually nominated in one among two ways. The presence of the function may be showcased by a characteristic suffix and a location number. This is widespread for the carbon-carbon double and triple bonds which possess the respective suffixes ene and yne. Halogens, on the contrary do not possess a suffix and are named as substituents, for instance: (CH3)2C=CHCHClCH3 is 4-chloro-2-methyl-2-pentene.

Alcohols are normally named by the first procedure and are designated by an ol suffix, as in ethanol, CH3CH2OH

On longer chains, the position of the hydroxyl group decides the chain numbering. For instance

(CH3)2C=CHCH(OH)CH3 is 4-methyl-3-penten-2-ol.

For the mono-functional alcohols, this normal system is composed of naming the alkyl group followed by the word alcohol. Alcohols may as well be classified as primary, 1º, secondary, 2º & tertiary, 3º, in a similar manner to alkyl halides. This term is known as alkyl substitution of the carbon atom that is carrying the hydroxyl group. It is indicated with blue color in the diagram below.


Compounds in which a hydroxyl group is bonded to an aromatic ring are known as phenols. The chemical behavior of phenols is dissimilar in some ways to that of alcohols. It is therefore sensible to discuss them as a similar but typically distinct group.

Author: TheGoldendiamond

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