Questions Science and Education

What is a functional group in chemistry?


Jasmin Khan

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A specific portion of the molecule which can be recognized or classified in the groups of bonded atoms is known as the functional group. In Organic Chemistry, you can see that the particles are comprised of a carbon backbone along with functional groups which are attached to its chains. 

With the help of the functional group, the molecule will be gaining its properties regardless of the type of molecule which it contains, and it is considered to be the center of the chemical reactivity. While naming all these functional groups, they need to be identified within the molecule. By using the method of proper synthesis, any particular type of organic compound is easily attached to its surface. In material science, functionalization is used for employing desired properties from the surface.

Examples of functional group:

  • Alcohol (-OH)
  • Aldehyde (-COH)
  • Nitrile(-CN)

The significance of a functional group: 

  • Functional groups are essential for making the organic molecule more sorted because it helps in determining the reactivity of every molecule along with different types of interactions.
  • Functional groups are considered to be the Lego blocks of organic chemistry, and they have very typical behavior.
  • In synthetic chemistry, several groups are given more preference because one can efficiently functionalize it. These functional groups are very reactive so you can easily utilize it because it is straightforward to change them without influencing any other groups.
  • Functional groups can also be used when it comes to distinguishing two or more similar types of compounds from one another. 
  • All the functional group will be going through a similar type of chemical reactions irrespective of the kind of compound that it has. So if some functional groups have proximity, then it can limit the reactivity.
  • All the atoms in a functional group will be linked together whereas the other compounds will be linked through covalent bonds. 
  • Depending on the number of carbon atoms that the functional groups are attached with you can distinguish it in three categories: primary, secondary and tertiary.
  • When you go through organic chemistry, then you can find carbonyl or alcohol to be the most regular functional groups. It is quite important to recognize all the useful group chemical and physical properties easily.

A functional group is an integral part of organic chemistry and it is significant because it can determine the type of reaction that is going to occur by analyzing the reactivity.

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