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Common Aromatic Nomenclature

Organic Chemistry - Common Aromatic Nomenclature

Aromatic compounds contain a ring of atoms in which electrons are shared throughout the ring in pi bonds (type of bonds unique to double and triple bonds).  Common aromatic nomenclature is similar to naming cyclic molecules, although there are many common names that are applied to aromatic compounds.

The most used common names are:

 

  • Benzene
  • Phenol
  • Benzyl alcohol
  • Toluene
  • Styrene
  • Aniline
  • Anisole
  • Pyridine
  • Xylene
  • Furan

Benzene is the most basic aromatic compound that consists of six carbons in a ring with alternating double bonds. The alternating double bonds in aromatic molecules may also be denoted with a circle in the middle of the ring.

Phenol is a benzene ring that has one of the hydrogen on the ring replaced with an alcohol group.

Benzyl alcohol has a methyl group attached to the benzene ring and an alcohol group attached to the methyl branch.

Toluene has the base of a benzene ring with a methyl group attached to it.

Styrene has an ethylene (two carbons double bonded to each other) attached to a benzene ring.

Aniline has an ammonia group (R-NH2) attached to a benzene ring.

Anisole is composed of a methyl ester group attached to a benzene ring.

Pyridine consists of a six atom ring with five carbons and one nitrogen that have alternating double bonds between them. Like benzene, a circle may be written in the center of the ring to short hand that there are alternating double bonds.

Xylene is composed of two methyl groups attached to a benzene ring. The position of the second methyl group can be notated with a prefix ortho- (next to each other), meta- (there is one carbon gap in-between the groups), or para- (they are across the ring from each other). This notation can be used on other molecules if there are only two functional groups on the benzene ring base.

Furan is an aromatic compound that is made up of a five atom ring. There are four carbons and one oxygen in the ring. Because of two lone pairs attached to the oxygen, furan can alternate between an aromatic phase (in which the oxygen is sp2 hybridized) and where there are only two sets of carbons double bonded to each other (in which the oxygen is sp3 hybridized).

The aromatic compounds listed above are a small amount of commonly used basic molecules. There is more common aromatic nomenclature that is not listed here and will be labeled and identified if used later on.

Peyton Young

Author Peyton Young

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