Introduction to organic chemistry

Published by Daniel Ozori on

Organic chemistry– Definition

Organic chemistry is defined as the scientific study of the way carbon bonds with other elements like Hydrogen, Oxygen, Sulphur, Nitrogen to form organic compounds.

it involves the study of their structure, properties, composition, reactions and synthesis.

It contributes by providing us with food, clothing, ink, rubber and other uses too many to mention.

The ultimate source of organic compounds is the sun. Carbon combines with chlorophyll in green leaves in the presence of the sun’s energy to produce the basic hydrocarbons.

Organic compounds were discovered by Frederick Wöhler, a German chemist famous for his discovery in 1828 that led to the abandonment of the vitalism theory.

The vitalism theory is the believe that “organic compounds can only be obtainable from living organism”.

Frederick’s experiments showed that Urea ( found in the urine of man ) can be obtained from ammonium cyanate ( CNH+4CNO) a pure organic compound.

This discovery immediately disproved the vitalism theory.

Carbon in organic compounds

Carbon has a very unique nature and is the primary unit in every organic compound, it possesses the ability to catenate ( the ability to combine to form straight chains, branched chains or ring compounds known as catanae ).

This ability to catenate is the reason why organic compounds are able to form complex multi-functional structures.

Why carbon catenates so easily is because of it’s valency configuration, it has a valency configuration of 1s2  2s1  2py1  2pz enabling it to easily accept atoms.

it forms covalent bonds and after covalency obtains a stable structure.

Classifications of organic compounds

Organic compounds are classified into two basic types which are;

  • Saturated hydrocarbons.
  • and unsaturated hydrocarbons.


Saturated hydrocarbons are organic compounds which are linked only by single bonds, it contains no double bonds or triple bonds and resists the addition reactions such as hydrogenation, oxidative addition, and binding of a Lewis base.

Examples of saturated compounds are; methane, ethane, propane.

An unsaturated hydrocarbon-Ethane

Unsaturated hydrocarbons are organic compounds which contains a double or triple covalent bonds between carbon atoms in their chemical structure.

They are commonly used in many industrial processes for the production of pesticides, fuel, paints, lacquers and more.

Examples of unsaturated compounds are; ethene, ethyne, propene.

An unsaturated hydrocarbon- Ethene


1 Comment

How to name organic compounds | Easy Chemistry · December 17, 2019 at 12:46 pm

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