Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Vital Force Theory
♦ Earth crust has only 0.02% carbon in the form of minerals (e.g. – carbonates, bicarbonates, coal, petroleum etc.) and atmosphere has 0.03% carbon dioxide. Inspite of its availability in such a small amount, it is highly important for our lives.
♦ Except water most of the things we use or consume (things made up of metal, glass, clay, food items, fuel etc.) in our everyday life are made up of carbon and its compounds.
Introduction to Organic Compounds
Earlier, chemical compounds were divided into two classes – inorganic and organic, depending upon where they had come from. Compounds which were obtained from plants and animals were organic compounds and compounds which were obtained from minerals, non-living sources were termed as inorganic compounds. Thus, it was thought that organic compounds could only be formed within a living system.
Vital Force Theory –
On the basis of such belief, it was postulated that a ‘vital force’ was necessary for synthesis of organic compounds.
Organic compounds must have their origin in living organisms and consequently could never be synthesized from inorganic material. This theory was known as ‘Vital Force Theory’, given by Berzelius, a Swedish chemist.
Later, vital force theory was disproved by Friedrich Wohler, a German chemist by preparing urea (organic compound) from ammonium cyanate (inorganic compound). Today, although many carbon compounds are still more conveniently isolated from plants and animals, most of them are synthesized by organic and inorganic compounds.
Definition of Organic Chemistry –
Carbon compounds contains carbon – carbon (C-C) bonds (mostly) along with hydrogen and other elements like oxygen, sulphur, nitrogen, halogen etc., or compounds that are the derivative of these, are called organic compounds.
The branch of science which deals with the scientific study of structure, properties and reactions of hydrocarbons and their derivatives is known as organic chemistry.
Carbon compounds having only carbon and hydrogen are called hydrocarbons.
Hydrocarbon is the parent class of organic compounds and further it can made all other classes of hydrocarbon subgroupings of compounds.
Examples – C2H6, C6H12, C2H2, C6H6 (hydrocarbons); ethylalcohol, sugar, starch (hydrocarbon subgrouping).
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Characteristics of Organic Compounds
The general characteristics of Organic Compounds are –
- Although many carbon compounds are still more conveniently isolated from plants and animals, most of them are synthesized by organic and inorganic compounds.
- They comprise almost 90% of all known compounds.
- Organic compounds contain carbon – carbon (C-C) bonds (mostly) along with hydrogen and other elements like oxygen, sulphur, nitrogen, halogen, phosphorous etc.
- Read – What is the Versatile Nature of Carbon?
- They can form large and complex structures due to catenation, tetracovalency of carbon, tendency to form multiple bonds and isomerism.
- Read – Why does carbon always form Covalent bonds?
- Their properties are decided by certain active atom or group of atoms known as the functional group.
- They are mostly insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents and have high molecular weights.
- They are combustible in nature.
Importance of Organic Compounds
Carbon compounds are quite important in our life, which can be realised as –
- Food – starch, sugar, fats, vitamins, proteins
- Fuels – wood, coal, alcohol, petrol, kerosene, LPG, CNG, natural gas, diesel etc.
- Household and commercial articles – paper, soap, detergent, leather, rubber, paint, plastic, cosmetics, oils, furniture (wood / plastic)
- Textile fabrics – wool, cotton, silk, linen, rayon, nylon, terylene
- Drugs and disinfectants – antipyretics, analgesic, antibiotic, sulpha drugs, penicillin, quinine, aspirin etc.
- Poisons – opium, strychnine, CO gas
- Perfumes – vanillin, camphor
- Explosives – dynamites, picric acid, TNT
- Dyes – indigo, cango red, malchite green
- War gases – mustard gas, chloropicrin, lewisite
- Organic compounds combine with metals to form organometallic compounds. These compounds are important industrially. They are used as catalysts, promoters, analysers as well as stabilizers.
Saturated and Unsaturated Organic Compounds – How to Draw Structures?