Definition of 'Chemistry' and 'Organic'

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Intro to Organic Chemistry
5:50 — by Jules B.

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Key Questions

  • Organic molecules, ie those with carbons, hydrogens, and often nitrogens and oxygens.

  • It's a group(s) of atoms in a molecule that undergo the same characteristical reactions regardless of the molecules it's attached to.

    Further reading:
    Functional Groups

  • To sum it up, organic chemistry deals with substances containing the element carbon, while inorganic chemistry deals with substances that typically do not contain carbon.

    Molecules associated with living organisms are organic. These include nucleic acids, fats, sugars, proteins, enzymes and many fuels. Also, almost all organic compounds contain carbon-hydrogen or #C-H# bonds. An example is #CH_4# (methane); it contains #C-H# bonds. However, #CO(NH_2)_2# (urea) does not contain #C-H# bonds, but is still considered organic because it's associated with living organisms. There are a few exceptions like this.

    Inorganics include salts, metals, substances made from single elements and any other compounds that don't contain carbon bonded to hydrogen. An example is #NaOH#. Compounds that contain the #CN^-# (cyanide ion), #HCO_3^-# (bicarbonate ion), and #CO_3^(2-)# (carbonate ion) are not considered organic. #CO_2# (carbon dioxide) is also considered inorganic because it does not contain #C-H# bonds.

    Basically, if you want to determine if a compound is organic, look to see if it contains #C-H# bonds. If it does, it most likely is an organic compound (aside from the exceptions discussed above). If it does not, it most likely is not an organic compound.