Organic Chemistry Notes


  1. Atom - Tiniest particle of an element that has all the properties of the element.
  2. Element - Simplest pure substance, composed of just one kind of atom.
  3. Molecule - Two or more atoms chemically bound. Example: CO,   O2.
  4. Compound - Two or more elements chemically bound. Example: CO,   C6H12O6.
  5. Organic compounds are carbon based.
  6. Common elements in organic compounds: C, H, O, N, S, P.

Polymer Compounds

Composite Compounds

Magical Carbon

  1. Carbon has little tendency to lose or gain e-.
  2. Carbon typically forms covalent bonds of 4 e- pairs.
  3. Each bond can be an intersection point for other groups of compounds.
  4. Organic compounds form from chains of C.
  5. Chains can be straight, branched or closed rings.
  6. The e- configuration constrains the 3D shapes molecules can take.
  7. There can be variations in these configurations.


  1. Early chemists had great difficulty synthesizing the complex organic compounds.
  2. Vitalism - 19th century belief that organic compounds (arising from living organisms) must have some spiritual energy beyond physical laws.
  3. German chemist in 1828 heated an "inorganic" ammonium cyanate and created an "organic" compound, urea.
  4. This started the process discrediting vitalism.