Identifying Multiple Functional Groups

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Are you expected to determine the number of functional groups present in a complex compound? Or perhaps you need to identify the functional groups that are present in a given compound? I have a few tips to share: look for anything that is not C-C single bond in a systematic manner (ie. scan from top to bottom, or left to right) exclude alkane (unless specified otherwise by your instructor) when you see carbonyl group (C=O) right next to O, group it together as an ester. DON’T split them into 2 groups (ketone & ether) when you see carbonyl group (C=O) right next to N, group it together as an amide. DON’T split them into 2 groups (ketone & amine) avoid duplicates of the same group (ie circle and label only 1 OH group even though there are 3 […]

Organic compounds functional groups introduction

Introducing the 13 Functional Groups!

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Do you dread having to remember all the functional groups? If you are in an introductory chemistry course, chances are high that you need to know these 13 functional groups. Thirteen??!!! Yea, thirteen! Don’t worry, it’ll be easier to remember them if you group them in a manner that makes sense. See the image on top of this post? I’ve strategically placed the 13 groups in a manner where we can easily group them and recall when needed. The first column (pink column) consists of hydrocarbons; compounds which are made of only carbons and hydrogens. The first 4 members are alkane, alkene, alkyne and arene. The fifth member, alkyl halide, is actually a hydrocarbon derivative. Meaning, it was made from a hydrocarbon, specifically alkane. Remove one hydrogen and replace with a halogen (fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine), […]

Counting Atoms in a Formula

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Counting atoms … What’s in it for me if I can count atoms correctly? You’ll be able to: balance chemical equations calculate formula/molecular mass calculate mols for a specific substance perform (terrifying) calculations involving mass-mol-# particles for several substances Just to be clear, I am talking about counting the number of atoms present in a chemical formula without involving your calculator. Counting the actual number of atoms will come in a later post. In this post, we’ll go through counting atoms from simple to more complex formula. So, are you ready? Feel free to scroll past the easy stuff if you’re already good with the basics. Here we go … #1» CH4 [methane] In this formula, there are two types of atom, carbon (C) and hydrogen (H). You notice the small 4 at the bottom right […]

Balancing Complex Chemical Equations

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Last week I posted on the three methods to balance chemical equations. My quick google search seems to point towards Method 1 (by inspection or trial-error-method) and Method 2 (writing down atom counts) being the most popular methods when it comes to balancing equations. Most of the students I have worked with only knew Method 1 from their high school science/chemistry class. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think it gets a little daunting when it comes to having to keep track of multiple numbers of atoms (like 5 or more) and it will prolong the process unnecessarily. I mean, who wants to spend 30 minutes trying to balance ONE equation??? Seriously, that 30 minutes is probably better-spent doing other things like watching YouTube, checking out latest posts in FB, Instagram, Twitter, uploading pictures […]

Balancing chemical equations (Simple)

Balancing Chemical Equations

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Is it important to be able to balance chemical equations correctly and quickly? You bet! Why so? First of all, you’ll make your chemistry teacher happy and maybe impress someone else along the way. Jokes aside, being able to balance chemical equation will open up a lot of possibilities. You’ll be able to get the molar ratios for all the compounds involved in the reaction and that will enable you to perform various types of calculations correctly (more on that in future posts). So the main goal of balancing chemical equation is to get the number of atoms to be the same on each side of the equation. The compounds on the left-hand side (before the arrow) are called reactants while the compounds on the right-hand side (after the arrow) are called products. Let’s start with […]