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

Another class of necessary molecules has a carbon atom associated to one oxygen atom by a twin bond, commonly called a carbonyl group. The trigonal planar carbon in the carbonyl team can attach to two various other substituents resulting in several subfamilies (aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids and esters) explained in this section.

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Aldehydes and also Ketones

Both aldehydes and ketones save on computer a carbonyl group, a functional group with a carbon-oxygen dual bond. The names for aldehyde and also ketone link are obtained using comparable nomenclature rules as for alkanes and also alcohols, and include the class-identifying suffixes -al and also -one, respectively:


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


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

In both aldehydes and also ketones, the geometry about the carbon atom in the carbonyl team is trigonal planar; the carbon atom exhibits sp2 hybridization. 2 of the sp2 orbitals on the carbon atom in the carbonyl group are supplied to type σ bonds come the other carbon or hydrogen atoms in a molecule. The staying sp2 hybrid orbital forms a σ bond to the oxygen atom. The unhybridized p orbit on the carbon atom in the carbonyl group overlaps a p orbital on the oxygen atom to form the π link in the twin bond.

Like the \textC = \textO shortcut in carbon dioxide, the \textC = \textO bond of a carbonyl team is polar (recall the oxygen is significantly much more electronegative 보다 carbon, and also the shared electrons are pulled towards the oxygen atom and away from the carbon atom). Numerous of the reactions of aldehydes and ketones begin with the reaction between a Lewis base and also the carbon atom at the positive end of the polar \textC = \textO link to yield an stormy intermediate that ultimately undergoes one or an ext structural rearrangements to kind the final product (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The carbonyl group is polar, and the geometry of the bonds approximately the main carbon is trigonal planar.

The prominence of molecular structure in the reactivity of organic compounds is depicted by the reaction that develop aldehydes and ketones. We deserve to prepare a carbonyl team by oxidation of one alcohol—for essential molecules, oxidation of a carbon atom is stated to take place when a carbon-hydrogen link is changed by a carbon-oxygen bond. The reverse reaction—replacing a carbon-oxygen link by a carbon-hydrogen bond—is a palliation of that carbon atom. Recall the oxygen is typically assigned a –2 oxidation number uneven it is elemental or attached to a fluorine. Hydrogen is normally assigned an oxidation variety of +1 unless it is attached to a metal. Since carbon does not have a specific rule, that is oxidation number is established algebraically through factoring the atom it is enclosed to and the in its entirety charge the the molecule or ion. In general, a carbon atom attached come an oxygen atom will have a much more positive oxidation number and a carbon atom attached come a hydrogen atom will have a much more negative oxidation number. This have to fit nicely with your expertise of the polarity of C–O and C–H bonds. The other reagents and possible products of these reactions are past the limit of this chapter, so us will focus only ~ above the changes to the carbon atoms:


Example 1

Oxidation and also Reduction in organic ChemistryMethane represents the fully reduced form of an essential molecule that contains one carbon atom. Sequentially replacing each of the carbon-hydrogen bonds through 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 atoms in the molecules shown here?

SolutionIn this example, we can calculate the oxidation number (review the thing on oxidation-reduction reactions if necessary) because that the carbon atom in each case (note how this would become challenging for larger molecules with additional carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms, i m sorry is why essential chemists usage the meaning dealing through replacing C–H bonds with C–O bonds described). Because that CH4, the carbon atom tote a –4 oxidation number (the hydrogen atoms are assigned oxidation number of +1 and the carbon atom balances that by having an oxidation variety of –4). Because that 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 atoms each space assigned +1, and the carbon atom balances the amount by having actually an oxidation variety of –2; note that compared to the carbon atom in CH4, this carbon atom has lost 2 electrons therefore it to be oxidized); for the aldehyde, the carbon atom’s oxidation number is 0 (–2 because that the oxygen atom and +1 for each hydrogen atom already balances come 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 also two hydrogen atoms at +1); and for carbon dioxide, the carbon atom’s oxidation number is +4 (here, the carbon atom demands to balance the –4 amount from the two oxygen atoms).

Check her LearningIndicate even if it is the significant carbon atom in the three molecules here are oxidized or lessened relative to the significant carbon atom in ethanol:


There is no should calculate oxidation states in this case; instead, simply compare the types of atom bonded to the significant carbon atoms:



(a) diminished (bond to oxygen atom changed by bond to hydrogen atom); (b) oxidized (one bond come hydrogen atom replaced 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 through the oxidation of alcohols whose –OH functional team is situated on the carbon atom in ~ the finish of the chain of carbon atoms in the alcohol:


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


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

Formaldehyde, one aldehyde v the formula HCHO, is a colorless gas v a pungent and also irritating odor. That is offered in one aqueous solution referred to as formalin, which contains about 37% formaldehyde by weight. Formaldehyde reasons coagulation that proteins, for this reason it death bacteria (and any other living organism) and also stops numerous of the organic processes that reason tissue to decay. Thus, formaldehyde is supplied for keeping tissue specimens and also embalming bodies. That is also used come sterilize soil or other materials. Formaldehyde is supplied in the to produce of Bakelite, a tough plastic having actually high chemical and electrical resistance.

Dimethyl ketone, CH3COCH3, generally called acetone, is the most basic ketone. That is made commercially by fermenting corn or molasses, or by oxidation the 2-propanol. Acetone is a colorless liquid. Among its countless uses are as a solvent for lacquer (including fingernail polish), cellulose acetate, cellulose nitrate, acetylene, plastics, and varnishes; together a paint and varnish remover; and as a solvent in the to produce of pharmaceuticals and also chemicals.

Carboxylic Acids and also Esters

The smell of vinegar is caused by the presence of acetic acid, a carboxylic acid, in the vinegar. The odor of ripe bananas and also many various other fruits is because of the visibility of esters, compound that deserve to be all set by the reaction of a carboxylic acid v an alcohol. Due to the fact that esters carry out not have actually hydrogen bonds in between molecules, they have lower vapor pressures 보다 the alcohols and also carboxylic mountain from which castle are derived (see number 2).

Figure 2. Esters are responsible for the odors connected with assorted plants and also their fruits.

Both carboxylic acids and esters save on computer a carbonyl group with a second oxygen atom bonded to the carbon atom in the carbonyl group by a single bond. In a carboxylic acid, the 2nd oxygen atom likewise bonds come a hydrogen atom. In an ester, the second oxygen atom binding to an additional carbon atom. The names because that carboxylic acids and esters encompass prefixes that signify the lengths of the carbon chains in the molecules and also are obtained following nomenclature rules comparable to those for not natural acids and also salts (see this examples):


The functional teams for one acid and for an ester are displayed in red in these formulas.

The hydrogen atom in the functional group of a carboxylic acid will certainly react v a basic to type an ionic salt:


Carboxylic acids are weak acids (see the chapter on acids and also bases), definition they are not 100% ionized in water. Typically only around 1% that the molecules of a carboxylic acid liquified in water room ionized at any kind of given time. The staying molecules are undissociated in solution.

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


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


The simplest carboxylic mountain is formic acid, HCO2H, known due to the fact that 1670. That is name originates from the Latin word formicus, which way “ant”; that was first isolated by the distillation the red ants. The is partly responsible because that the pain and irritation of ant and also wasp stings, and is responsible for a characteristic odor of ants that can be occasionally detected in your 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 existing in the juice bring out the fermentation reactions. The fermentation reactions adjust the sugar existing in the juice to ethanol, then to acetic acid. Pure acetic acid has actually a penetrating odor and produces painful burns. The is an excellent solvent for numerous organic and also some inorganic compounds, and also it is necessary in the production of cellulose acetate, a ingredient of many man-made fibers such together rayon.

The distinctive and attractive odors and also flavors of many flowers, perfumes, and also ripe fruits are due to the existence of one or an ext esters (Figure 3). Amongst the most essential of the organic esters room fats (such together lard, tallow, and butter) and oils (such together linseed, cottonseed, and also olive oils), which space esters of 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 also oleic acid, \textCH_3\text(CH_2)_7\textCH = \textCH(CH_2)_7\textCO_2\textH. Oleic acid is an unsaturated acid; it includes a \textC = \textC double bond. Palmitic and stearic acids room saturated acids that contain no double or triple bonds.

Figure 3.

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end 350 various volatile molecules (many members that the ester family) have been established in strawberries. (credit: Rebecca Siegel)Key Concepts and Summary

Functional teams related come the carbonyl group include the –CHO team of an aldehyde, the –CO– group of a ketone, the –CO2H group of a carboxylic acid, and also the –CO2R team of an ester. The carbonyl group, a carbon-oxygen twin bond, is the crucial structure in these classes of essential molecules: Aldehydes contain at the very least one hydrogen atom attached to the carbonyl carbon atom, ketones contain two carbon teams attached to the carbonyl carbon atom, carboxylic acids contain a hydroxyl team attached come the carbonyl carbon atom, and also esters save an oxygen atom attached to another carbon group connected to the carbonyl carbon atom. All of these compounds save oxidized carbon atoms family member to the carbon atom of an alcohol group.