Describe the structure and properties the aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids and esters

Another course of organic molecules consists of a carbon atom connected to one oxygen atom by a dual bond, generally called a carbonyl group. The trigonal planar carbon in the carbonyl team can connect to two various other substituents bring about several subfamilies (aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids and also esters) described in this section.

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Aldehydes and Ketones

Both aldehydes and ketones save a carbonyl group, a functional group with a carbon-oxygen double bond. The names because that aldehyde and also ketone link are obtained using similar nomenclature rules together for alkanes and also alcohols, and also include the class-identifying suffix -al and -one, respectively:


In one aldehyde, the carbonyl group is bonded to at the very least one hydrogen atom. In a ketone, the carbonyl team is external inspection to 2 carbon atoms:


As text, one aldehyde team is stood for as –CHO; a ketone is represented as –C(O)– or –CO–.

In both aldehydes and also ketones, the geometry roughly the carbon atom in the carbonyl team is trigonal planar; the carbon atom exhibits sp2 hybridization. 2 of the sp2 orbitals top top the carbon atom in the carbonyl group are supplied to kind σ bonds come the other carbon or hydrogen atom in a molecule. The remaining sp2 hybrid orbital creates a σ bond come the oxygen atom. The unhybridized p orbital on the carbon atom in the carbonyl group overlaps a p orbital on the oxygen atom to kind the π shortcut in the double bond.

Like the \textC = \textO bond in carbon dioxide, the \textC = \textO shortcut of a carbonyl group is polar (recall the oxygen is significantly much more electronegative than carbon, and the mutual electrons are pulled towards the oxygen atom and away indigenous the carbon atom). Numerous of the reaction of aldehydes and also ketones start with the reaction in between a Lewis base and also the carbon atom in ~ the positive end of the polar \textC = \textO link to productivity an rough intermediate that consequently undergoes one or more structural rearrangements to type the final product (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The carbonyl team is polar, and also the geometry the the bonds about the central carbon is trigonal planar.

The prominence of molecular structure in the reactivity of necessary compounds is shown by the reactions that create aldehydes and ketones. We deserve to prepare a carbonyl team by oxidation of one alcohol—for organic molecules, oxidation the a carbon atom is stated to happen when a carbon-hydrogen bond is changed by a carbon-oxygen bond. The reverse reaction—replacing a carbon-oxygen link by a carbon-hydrogen bond—is a palliation of the carbon atom. Recall that oxygen is normally assigned a –2 oxidation number uneven it is element or attached come a fluorine. Hydrogen is normally assigned one oxidation number of +1 unless it is attached to a metal. Since carbon does not have actually a particular rule, that oxidation number is determined algebraically by factoring the atoms it is attached to and also the as whole charge of the molecule or ion. In general, a carbon atom attached come an oxygen atom will have a more positive oxidation number and a carbon atom attached to a hydrogen atom will have actually a more negative oxidation number. This need to fit nicely through your understanding of the polarity the C–O and also C–H bonds. The various other reagents and feasible products of these reactions are past the scope of this chapter, so us will focus only top top the alters to the carbon atoms:


Example 1

Oxidation and also Reduction in organic ChemistryMethane to represent the totally reduced kind of an essential molecule that has one carbon atom. Sequentially replacing each of the carbon-hydrogen bonds with a carbon-oxygen bond would bring about an alcohol, climate an aldehyde, then a carboxylic acid (discussed later), and, finally, carbon dioxide:


What are the oxidation numbers because that the carbon atom in the molecules displayed here?

SolutionIn this example, we have the right to calculate the oxidation number (review the thing on oxidation-reduction reaction if necessary) because that the carbon atom in each situation (note just how this would certainly become daunting for larger molecules with added carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms, i m sorry is why organic chemists usage the an interpretation dealing v replacing C–H bonds v C–O bonds described). For CH4, the carbon atom carries a –4 oxidation number (the hydrogen atoms are assigned oxidation numbers of +1 and the carbon atom balances that by having actually an oxidation number of –4). For the alcohol (in this case, methanol), the carbon atom has actually an oxidation variety of –2 (the oxygen atom is assigned –2, the four hydrogen atom each are assigned +1, and the carbon atom balances the amount by having actually an oxidation number of –2; keep in mind that compared to the carbon atom in CH4, this carbon atom has actually lost 2 electrons for this reason it to be oxidized); for the aldehyde, the carbon atom’s oxidation number is 0 (–2 for the oxygen atom and also +1 for each hydrogen atom currently balances to 0, therefore the oxidation number because that the carbon atom is 0); for the carboxylic acid, the carbon atom’s oxidation number is +2 (two oxygen atoms every at –2 and two hydrogen atoms at +1); and also for carbon dioxide, the carbon atom’s oxidation number is +4 (here, the carbon atom requirements to balance the –4 sum from the 2 oxygen atoms).

Check her LearningIndicate whether the significant carbon atom in the three molecules here are oxidized or lessened relative come the significant carbon atom in ethanol:


There is no have to calculate oxidation says in this case; instead, just compare the varieties of atoms bonded come the significant carbon atoms:



(a) diminished (bond come oxygen atom replaced by bond to hydrogen atom); (b) oxidized (one bond to hydrogen atom changed by one bond to oxygen atom); (c) oxidized (2 bonds to hydrogen atoms have been changed by bonds come an oxygen atom)

Aldehydes are typically prepared by the oxidation of alcohols who –OH functional team is situated on the carbon atom at the finish of the chain that carbon atom in the alcohol:


Alcohols that have actually their –OH groups in the middle of the chain are essential to synthesize a ketone, which requires the carbonyl group to be bonded to two other carbon atoms:


An alcohol through its –OH group bonded to a carbon atom that is external inspection to no or one other carbon atom will kind an aldehyde. One alcohol through its –OH group attached come two various other carbon atom will form a ketone. If 3 carbons room attached to the carbon bonded to the –OH, the molecule will certainly not have a C–H link to it is in replaced, therefore it will not be vulnerable to oxidation.

Formaldehyde, one aldehyde with the formula HCHO, is a colorless gas with a pungent and also irritating odor. It is marketed in an aqueous solution dubbed formalin, i beg your pardon contains about 37% formaldehyde through weight. Formaldehyde reasons coagulation the proteins, for this reason it kills bacteria (and any kind of other living organism) and stops plenty of of the organic processes that cause tissue come decay. Thus, formaldehyde is provided for maintaining tissue specimens and also embalming bodies. The is likewise used come sterilize floor or various other materials. Formaldehyde is supplied in the to produce of Bakelite, a tough plastic having actually high chemical and also electrical resistance.

Dimethyl ketone, CH3COCH3, typically called acetone, is the simplest ketone. The is do commercially by fermenting corn or molasses, or through oxidation the 2-propanol. Acetone is a colorless liquid. Amongst its plenty of uses room as a solvent because that lacquer (including fingernail polish), cellulose acetate, cellulose nitrate, acetylene, plastics, and varnishes; together a paint and varnish remover; and as a solvent in the produce of pharmaceuticals and also chemicals.

Carboxylic Acids and also Esters

The odor of vinegar is resulted in by the existence of acetic acid, a carboxylic acid, in the vinegar. The odor of ripe bananas and also many various other fruits is due to the presence of esters, link that deserve to be all set by the reaction that a carboxylic acid through an alcohol. Because esters perform not have hydrogen bonds between molecules, they have lower vapor pressures 보다 the alcohols and carboxylic acids from which castle are acquired (see figure 2).

Figure 2. Esters are responsible because that the odors linked with assorted plants and their fruits.

Both carboxylic acids and esters save a carbonyl team with a second oxygen atom external inspection to the carbon atom in the carbonyl group by a solitary bond. In a carboxylic acid, the 2nd oxygen atom also bonds come a hydrogen atom. In one ester, the 2nd oxygen atom binding to an additional carbon atom. The names because that carboxylic acids and also esters incorporate prefixes that denote the lengths the the carbon chain in the molecules and also are acquired following nomenclature rules comparable to those for not natural acids and also salts (see this examples):


The functional groups for an acid and also for an ester are displayed in red in these formulas.

The hydrogen atom in the functional team of a carboxylic acid will certainly react with a base to form an ionic salt:


Carboxylic acids room weak acids (see the thing on acids and also bases), meaning they are not 100% ionized in water. Generally only around 1% of the molecules of a carboxylic acid dissolved in water room ionized at any kind of given time. The staying molecules space undissociated in solution.

We prepare carboxylic mountain by the oxidation of aldehydes or alcohols who –OH functional group is situated on the carbon atom at the finish of the chain of carbon atoms in the alcohol:


Esters are developed by the reaction the acids with alcohols. Because that example, the ester ethyl acetate, CH3CO2CH2CH3, is created when acetic acid reacts through ethanol:


The most basic carboxylic mountain is formic acid, HCO2H, known since 1670. Its name comes from the Latin native formicus, which method “ant”; the was an initial isolated through the distillation of red ants. That is partially responsible because that the pain and also irritation of ant and also wasp stings, and also is responsible for a characteristic odor of ants that can be periodically detected in their nests.

Acetic acid, CH3CO2H, constitutes 3–6% vinegar. Cider vinegar is created by enabling apple juice come ferment there is no oxygen present. Yeast cells present in the juice lug out the fermentation reactions. The fermentation reactions readjust the sugar current in the juice come ethanol, climate to acetic acid. Pure acetic acid has actually a penetrating odor and also produces painful burns. It is an excellent solvent for plenty of organic and some not natural compounds, and also it is important in the manufacturing of cellulose acetate, a component of many man-made fibers such as rayon.

The distinctive and attractive odors and flavors of many flowers, perfumes, and also ripe fruits are due to the presence of one or much more esters (Figure 3). Among the most important of the organic esters room fats (such as lard, tallow, and also butter) and also oils (such together linseed, cottonseed, and olive oils), which are esters that the trihydroxyl alcohol glycerine, \textC_3\textH_5\text(OH)_3, with huge carboxylic acids, such together palmitic acid, \textCH_3\text(CH_2)_14\textCO_2\textH, stearic acid, \textCH_3\text(CH_2)_16\textCO_2\textH, and oleic acid, \textCH_3\text(CH_2)_7\textCH = \textCH(CH_2)_7\textCO_2\textH. Oleic acid is one unsaturated acid; it consists of a \textC = \textC twin bond. Palmitic and stearic acids room saturated acids the contain no dual or triple bonds.

Figure 3.

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over 350 different volatile molecule (many members that the ester family) have been identified in strawberries. (credit: Rebecca Siegel)Key Concepts and also Summary

Functional groups related to the carbonyl group incorporate the –CHO group of an aldehyde, the –CO– group of a ketone, the –CO2H team of a carboxylic acid, and also the –CO2R team of an ester. The carbonyl group, a carbon-oxygen twin bond, is the an essential structure in these classes of essential molecules: Aldehydes save at the very least one hydrogen atom attached come the carbonyl carbon atom, ketones contain 2 carbon groups attached to the carbonyl carbon atom, carboxylic mountain contain a hydroxyl team attached to the carbonyl carbon atom, and also esters save on computer an oxygen atom fastened to another carbon group connected to the carbonyl carbon atom. All of these compounds contain oxidized carbon atoms relative to the carbon atom of an alcohol group.