Functional groups are atoms or small groups of atoms (two to four) that exhibit a characteristic reactivity when treated with certain reagents. A particular functional group will almost always display its characteristic chemical behavior when it is present in a compound. Because of this, the discussion of organic reactions is often organized according to functional groups. The following table summarizes the general chemical behavior of the common functional groups. The alkanes are relatively unreactive, and provide a background of behavior in the absence of more localized functional groups.
The practice problems provided as part of this text are chiefly interactive, and should provide a useful assessment of the reader's understanding at various stages in the development of the subject. Some of these problems make use of a Molecular Editor drawing application created by Peter.Ertl of the Novartis Corp. To practice using this editor Click Here.
Since problem solving is essential to achieving an effective mastery of the subject, it is recommended that many more problems be worked. Most organic chemistry textbooks contain a broad assortment of suitable problems, and paperback collections of practice problems are also available.
The button on the right will activate a collection of problems concerning the reactivity of common functional groups.
The following web-sites provide nice collections of problems and answers:
Reaction quizzes and summaries from Towson University
Electronic flashcards from Ohio State University
Concept questions from University of Wisconsin
Practice problems from UCLA
Spectroscopy problems from Notre Dame
For a useful collection of study materials, including links to other sites, visit the
Organic chemistry tool-kit. Prepared by Bob Hanson, St. Olaf College
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(most recent revision 5/1/2004)
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