Intro Reactions of Organic Molecules


There are two ways in which covalent bonds can break:

  1. Homolytic fission – Both atoms at each end of the bond leave with one electron from the pair that formed the covalent bond, forming Free Radicals. These atoms will further participate in a Free Radical Substitution reaction.
  2. Heterolytic fission – The more electronegative atoms takes both the electrons in the covalent bond. An Electron deficient ion is called Carbocation (doesn’t necessarily come from ‘carbon-cation’) , and it is an example of a species called ‘electrophile‘.

An Electrophile is an acceptor of a pair of electrons.

The electron rich species is called nucleophile (nucleus lover), they carry a partial negative charge, and they are referred to as an acceptor of a pair of electrons.

Types of organic reactions:

  • Addition reactions involve the formation of a single product from two reactant molecules
  • Elimination reactions result in the removal of a small molecule
  • Substitution reactions involve the replacement of one atom or group of atoms, by another
  • Hydrolysis is the breakdown of a molecule by water, reaction usually speed up by an acid or alkali
  • Oxidation is defined as the loss of electrons ( OIL ) from a species. It can also be thought of in terms of oxygen and/or hydrogen atoms before and after a reaction.
  • Reduction is defined as the gain of electrons ( RIG ). It is the opposite of Oxidation.

Remember  OIL – RIG.

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