Structural formula

From Academic Kids

Many chemical compounds, especially hydrocarbons, can exist in different geometric configurations. A structural formula represents the arrangements of atoms in a way that a chemical formula cannot.

One of the advantages with structural formulae is the ability to tell the structure of the compound (see isomer). A simple example of this may be seen with the hydrocarbon butane, C4H10. The four carbons may be arranged in a linear pattern, or in a branched, "T" pattern. The first arrangement is known as orthobutane or n-butane, while the second is isobutane.

Molecular formula: C4H10.

Structural formulae:

Missing image
Butane_Structural_Formula.gif
n-butane
Missing image
Isobutane_Structure.gif
isobutane

Note that for organic compounds, line drawings of structural formula are assumed to have carbon atoms at the end of each line segment. Each carbon atom is in turn assumed to bear enough hydrogen atoms to give the carbon atom four bonds. Equivalent full and abbreviated forms are shown in the adjacent figures.

A structural formula can be precisely described using IUPAC nomenclature. In the case of isobutane, the proper IUPAC name is methylpropane.

Ring structure

A ring structure can be drawn in chair perspective.

External links

fr:Formule développée plane nl:Structuurformule sv:Strukturformel

Template:Chem-stub

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