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IUPAC nomenclature of organic chemistry

A systematic method of naming organic chemical compounds as recommended by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). Ideally, every organic compound should have a name from which an unambiguous structural formulae can be drawn. There is also an IUPAC nomenclature of inorganic chemistry. See also phanes nomenclature of highly complex cyclic molecules.

The main idea of IUPAC nomenclature is that every compound has one and only one name, and every name corresponds to only one structure of molecules (i.e. a one-one relationship), thereby reducing ambiguity.

For ordinary communication, to spare a tedious description, the official IUPAC naming recommendations are not always followed in practice except when it is necessary to give a concise definition to a compound, or when the IUPAC name is simpler (viz. ethanol against ethyl alcohol). Otherwise the common or trivial name may be used, often derived from the source of the compound.

The IUPAC Systematic Approach to Nomenclature

A rational nomenclature system should do at least two things. First, it should indicate how the carbon atoms of a given compound are bonded together in a characteristic lattice of chains and rings. Second, it should identify and locate any functional groups present in the compound. Since hydrogen is such a common component of organic compounds, its amount and locations can be assumed from the tetravalency of carbon, and need not be specified in most cases.
The IUPAC nomenclature system is a set of logical rules devised and used by organic chemists to circumvent problems caused by arbitrary nomenclature. Knowing these rules and given a structural formula, one should be able to write a unique name for every distinct compound. Likewise, given a IUPAC name, one should be able to write a structural formula. In general, an IUPAC name will have three essential features:

A root or base indicating a major chain or ring of carbon atoms found in the molecular structure.
A suffix or other element(s) designating functional groups that may be present in the compound.
Names of substituent groups, other than hydrogen, that complete the molecular structure.

As an introduction to the IUPAC nomenclature system, we shall first consider compounds that have no specific functional groups. Such compounds are composed only of carbon and hydrogen atoms bonded together by sigma bonds (all carbons are sp3 hybridized).

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February 1, 2010 - Posted by | IUPAC Nomenclature

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