Chemguide: Support for CIE A level Chemistry

Learning outcome 29: An introduction to A level organic chemistry

29.1 Formulae, functional groups and the naming of organic compounds

Learning outcomes 29.1.1, 29.1.2, 29.1.3 and 29.1.4

These statements just build on similar statements that you will have met in Section 13.1.

Statement 29.1.1

Read the statement in your copy of the syllabus.

Having done all the previous organic chemistry, you will be perfectly aware that the functional group in a compound dictates its physical and chemical properties.

For now, just have a quick look at the new functional groups in the table at the beginning of this section, but don't waste time trying to learn them now. Wait until you come across them in detail.

Statement 29.1.2

Read the statement in your copy of the syllabus.

There is nothing new here apart from the structure of the benzene ring. This will be dealt with properly in statement 29.3.1.

For now just note that the comment underneath the table making clear that when you draw a benzene ring you always draw the hexagon with the circle in it, whatever method you are using for the rest of the molecule.

If you have any worries about drawing organic molecules, then look again at the page How to draw organic molecules.

Statement 29.1.3

Read the statement in your copy of the syllabus.

This is about naming the new aliphatic compounds that you are going to meet. An aliphatic compound is one which doesn't contain a benzene ring - just carbon chains or branched chains.

The first edition of the syllabus included nitriles in this list. Nitriles have already been covered in the first half of the course.

You should refresh your memory by reading the page Understanding the names of organic compounds, and then follow the link to the next page describing more aliphatic compounds.

But don't do more than a quick read-through at this point. If you try to work through all the new names in detail, you will just get confused.

Once you have understood how naming works, it is easy to add another sort of compound as you come across it later on. You can always refer back to these pages again later if you need to.

Statement 29.1.4

Read the statement in your copy of the syllabus.

Now read the page about the names of aromatic compounds. The aromatic compounds you will meet all contain a benzene ring.

Again, do a quick read-through to see how the naming works, but come back and look at this again as you meet the new compounds.

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© Jim Clark 2020