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What is a Functional Group?
A functional group is a portion of a molecule that is a recognizable/classified group of bound
atoms. In organic chemistry it is very common to see molecules comprised mainly of a carbon
backbone with functional groups attached to the chain. The functional group gives the molecule
its properties, regardless of what molecule contains it*; they are centers of chemical reactivity.
The functional groups within a molecule need to be identified when naming.
*Definition taken from Lecture Supplement, First Edition by Steven Hardinger, Copyright 2008
by Steven Hardinger, Hayden-McNeil Publishing, Inc.
The figures were computer drawn using ChemBioDraw Ultra, Copyright 1986-2007 by
Alkene: defined by the C-C double bond
Benzene Ring: a special ring of carbons with
alternating single and double bonds, has a special degree of
Alcohol: characterized by the hydroxy, –OH group. It is
a very important group in monosaccharides
Sulfide: carbon groups bounded to a sulfur atom
Alkyne: defined by the C-C triple bond