How Helena Aced Organic Chemistry

August 28, 2014

How Helena Got 93 In Organic Chemistry An Australian reader, Helena, recently wrote to say she’d earned a 93 in her organic chemistry class as part of her course requirements as a biology major.  Here’s how she described her background: I’m a “mature age” student. The last time I studied chemistry was in high school twenty [...]

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Maybe they should call them, “Formal Wins” ?

Maybe they should call them, “Formal Wins” ?

August 15, 2014

In April of this year, Braves reliever Luis Avilan came in with a 5-1 lead in the 8th inning. Eight batters later, he’d given up five runs, blowing the lead. Thankfully for him, the Braves came back in the top of the 9th and reliever David Carpenter nailed down the save. The result: Avilan got [...]

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Bridged Bicyclic Rings (And How To Name Them)

August 14, 2014

In the last post we started our discussion of structures with more than one ring, using decalin as our key example. We saw how much the stereochemistry at the ring junction can affect the overall shape of the molecule, as well as its stability. What we didn’t talk about is that the ring junction of decalin [...]

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Fused Rings

August 5, 2014

At the beginning of this series I said that the fact that carbon can form rings leads to all kinds of interesting consequences. We’re going to see many examples of that in our post today! So far, we’ve only talked about cyclic molecules containing one ring. But, of course, molecules with multiple rings are very common [...]

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Which Cyclohexane Chair Is Of Lower Energy?

July 23, 2014

In the last post, we introduced A values and said they were a useful tool for determining which groups are “bulkiest” on a cyclohexane ring. The greater the A-value (bulk), the more favoured the equatorial conformer will be (versus axial). We saw that hydroxyl groups (OH) have a relatively low A-value (0.87), methyl groups are [...]

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Substituted Cyclohexanes: “A Values”

July 1, 2014

In the last post we saw that adding a methyl group to cyclohexane results in two chair conformers that are unequal in energy. We saw that the conformer where the methyl group was equatorial is the most stable, since it avoids destabilizing diaxial interactions (technically, gauche interactions) that are present in the conformer when the methyl group is axial. We also said [...]

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Substituted Cyclohexanes – Equatorial vs Axial

June 27, 2014

Just to bring you up to speed, here’s what we mentioned in the last post. At the bottom, I’ll also correct a little fib I made. 1. Cyclohexane, at room temperature, undergoes a conformational interconversion known as a “chair flip”. In this chair flip, all axial groups become equatorial, and all equatorial groups become axial.[but [...]

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The Cyclohexane Chair Flip – Energy Diagram

June 6, 2014

In the last post,  we showed a video of  a cyclohexane ring flip – turning a cyclohexane chair conformation into a boat and then into the opposite chair. The key observation we made here was that a chair flip converts all axial groups into equatorial groups and all equatorial groups into axial groups. However all [...]

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The Cyclohexane Chair Flip

May 30, 2014

In our last post, an aerial tour of the cyclohexane chair, we showed that there are two different positions a substituting can occupy on a cyclohexane chair – axial (straight up and down, relative to the ring) and equatorial (off to the side of the ring). This brings up an interesting thought experiment. Let’s take [...]

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How To Draw A Cyclohexane Chair

May 20, 2014

Now that we’ve had an aerial tour of the cyclohexane chair, we’re going to move on to a very important skill: how to properly draw one of these beasties. This takes practice. Your first few attempts in drawing a cyclohexane chair from memory might see you end up with one of these “variations”, which in their [...]

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