Organic Chemistry 2

The Williamson Ether Synthesis

October 24, 2014

In the last post, we discussed the acid-base properties of alcohols. Two posts ago, we said that acid-base reactions are often used to “set up” substitution and elimination reactions of alcohols.  In this post, we’ll talk about what is probably the best example of this last point –  the Williamson Ether Synthesis. The Williamson Ether […]

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How To Make Alcohols More Reactive

How To Make Alcohols More Reactive

October 6, 2014

In the last post we explored some of the properties and nomenclature of alcohols. We said that alcohols tend to have high boiling points due to hydrogen bonding, and that  we commonly divide alcohols into the categories  “primary”, “secondary”,  and “tertiary” (with a nod to the unique, “methanol”) according to how many carbons are attached to the C […]

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Alcohols (1) – Nomenclature and Properties

September 17, 2014

In this next series of posts we are going to discuss the reactions of alcohols. As a functional group, alcohols are introduced fairly early in organic chemistry. Their reactions, however, are usually not covered until near the end of Org 1 – at least after subjects like substitution and elimination reactions have been explored. That’s […]

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How Concepts Build Up In Org 2

September 9, 2014

OK. Having looked at the Org 1 Concept Map, let’s ask the next logical question: what does a typical Org 2 course look like? One general observation: the way functional groups are covered in your typical two-semester organic chemistry course generally follows the oxidation ladder. Look at the progression:  alkanes (low oxidation state) first, then […]

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Making Music With Mechanisms

Making Music With Mechanisms

April 4, 2014

My friend Harry has an annoying habit. When we’re hanging out, every once in awhile, he’ll put on a serious face and say he has something very important to tell me. Then, when he has my attention, he breaks out that annoying Bryan Adams song that begins with “Pleeease forgive me…”. He thinks this is hilarious. While it *is* […]

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An Exercise In Mind Reading?

April 8, 2013

The other day while going through Claisen condensations with a student, we came upon this pretty typical problem: The student duly deprotonated the alpha carbon of the ester to give the enolate, but stopped there. “Since there’s just one molecule of ester, I’m not sure what it’s supposed to do next.” I explained that it’s […]

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Introducing the Reaction Guide

Introducing the Reaction Guide

October 17, 2012

My main goal at Master Organic Chemistry has always been to provide students with useful resources that they can’t easily find anywhere else. About six months after I started tutoring organic chemistry, I realized that a lot of students had trouble keeping track of all the reagents in organic chemistry, and were looking for a […]

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The Malonic Ester Synthesis

August 14, 2012

Apropos of nothing, here’s a post about a series of reactions that is a common source of student difficulties. It’s called the malonic ester synthesis, and it’s an interesting way of making substituted carboxylic acids. There’s an essentially identical process called the acetoacetic ester synthesis and it makes substituted ketones; the only difference between the two processes is […]

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What does 4n+2 mean?

What does 4n+2 mean?

June 29, 2012

The other night a student came to me with a question about aromaticity. “There’s one thing I don’t get”, she said. “They say a molecule has to have 4n+2 electrons. How do you find n?” Teachable moment! “n” is not a characteristic of the molecule! Let me explain. In order for a molecule to be aromatic, it […]

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Announcing Daily Organic Chemistry Tips By Email

May 24, 2012

99% of what I do at MOC is given away for free. But every once in awhile I try to produce paid products and services that serve a pressing need for students of organic chemistry that can’t be found anywhere else. One example of this is the Reagent Guide. Today I’m excited to announce the […]

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