In organic chemistry, functional groups (or moieties) are specific groups of atoms within molecules, that are responsible for the characteristic chemical reactions of those molecules. The same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reaction(s) regardless of the size of the molecule it is a part of.
The non-hydrogen atoms of functional groups are always associated with each other and with the rest of the molecule by covalent bonds. When the group of atoms is associated with the rest of the molecule primarily by ionic forces, the group is referred to more properly as a polyatomic ion or complex ion—all of these are called radicals, by a meaning of the term radical that predates the free radical.
The first carbon atom after the carbon that attaches to the functional group is called the alpha carbon.
Functional groups are attached to the carbon backbone of organic molecules. They determine the characteristics and chemical reactivity of molecules. Functional groups are far less stable than the carbon backbone and are likely to participate in chemical reactions.
Table of common functional groups
The following is a list of common functional groups. In the formulas, the symbols R and R' usually denotes an attached hydrogen, or a hydrocarbon side chain of any length, but may sometimes refer to any group of atoms. Below is an image of multiple functional groups found in organic chemistry.
(For convenience, see basic functional groups covered in General Biology)
|4° ammonium ion
|alkyl alkyl disulfide
|alkyl alkyl ether
Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide
Methyl ethyl ketone
|phosphoric acid di(substituent) ester
|substituent phosphonic acid
|substituent sulfonic acid
- Chemical classification
- Organic chemistry
ReferencesISBN links support NWE through referral fees
- McMurry, John. Organic Chemistry. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, 2004. ISBN 0534420052
- Morrison, Robert T., and Robert N. Boyd. Organic Chemistry. 6th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992. ISBN 0-13-643669-2
- Solomons, T.W. Graham, and Fryhle, Craig B. Organic Chemistry. 8th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley, 2004. ISBN 0471417998
All links retrieved May 16, 2017.
- IUPAC Compendium of Chemical Terminology - the Gold Book International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.
|Chemical class: Alcohol • Aldehyde • Alkane • Alkene • Alkyne • Amide • Amine • Azo compound • Benzene derivative • Carboxylic acid • Cyanate • Ester • Ether • Haloalkane • Imine • Isocyanide • Isocyanate • Ketone • Nitrile • Nitro compound • Nitroso compound • Peroxide • Phosphoric acid • Pyridine derivative • Sulfone • Sulfonic acid • Sulfoxide • Thioether • Thiol • Toluene derivative
|Topics in organic chemistry
|List of organic compounds
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