Organic chemistry is, at the most basic level, the study of how compounds containing carbon atoms react. Organic compounds are vitally important to life. The proteins that serve as the structural and functional basis of living organisms, the drug molecules that are used to treat diseases, and the petroleum compounds that serve as an energy source are all organic compounds. This website provides an introduction to organic chemistry.

Site summary

On the basic bonding concepts page, the concept of the electron orbital is presented and its properties are explained. Bonding in carbon is treated using the linear combination of atomic orbitals approach. The mathematical origins of sp3 and sp2 hybridization are presented, and the formation of single and double bonds (involving sigma and pi bonds) is explained.

Next, the nomenclature for hydrocarbons is presented. After reviewing structural representations of hydrocarbons, nomenclature rules for alkanes, alkenes, and alkynes and their substituents are presented and explained with examples. Next, the nomenclature of simple functional groups, including alkyl halides, alcohols, ethers, and amines is presented.

The stereochemistry page introduces the concept of isomers. Constitutional isomers are defined and the concept and nomenclature of enantiomers and diastereomers (including the Cahn-Ingold-Prelog system) is explained.

The conformational analysis of alkanes is presented and the energetics of different conformations is explored. The conformational approach is used to explore cyclic hydrocarbons, using cyclohexane as an example. The concepts of aromaticity and resonance are presented and applied to benzene.

Finally, an introduction to nucleophilic substitution reactions is presented. The importance of steric and nucleophile effects in SN2 reactions and of carbocation stability in SN1 reactions is explained.

This website is the result of my experience tutoring organic chemistry. It is intended to educate students in the basic principles of organic chemistry and present the material in a clear and easy to understand manner. It aims to provide greater clarity and detail and teach differently than organic chemistry textbooks.

Jonathan Mooney, webmaster
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