(e) Strength of aliphatic carboxylic acids and benzoic acid
R COOH C6 H5 COOH
↑ −I g↑roup
Hence benzoic acid is stronger acid then aliphatic carboxylic acids but exception is formic acid. Thus,
HCOOH C6 H5COOH RCOOH
Acid strength in decreasing order
Note : Decreasing order of acids : NO2CH2COOH > FCH2COOH > ClCH2COOH > BrCH2COOH .
F3C − COOH > Cl3C − COOH > Br3C − COOH > I3C − COOH .
(v) Acidity of alcohols : Acidity of alcohol depends on the stability of alkoxide ion (i.e., conjugate base of
alcohol) which is obtained by the dissociation of alcohols.
R−O−H ⇌ R − H⊕
Acid strength of alcohol ∝ stability of alkoxide ion
The decreasing order of acid strength of acid strength in alcohols is also due to +I effect of alkyl groups.
CH3OH > CH3CH2OH > (CH3)2 CHOH > (CH3)3 COH
Methyl Ethyl Iso− propyl Tert −butyl
alcohol Alcohol alcohol alcohol
As compared to water, phenol is more acidic (–I effect) but methyl alcohol is less acidic (+I effect).
OH > H − OH > CH3 OH
Phenol Methyl alcohol
(vi) Relative strength of the bases (Basic nature of − NH2 )
(a) A base may be defined as a species which is capable of accepting a proton. Base strength is defined as the
tendency to donate an electron pair for sharing.
(b) The relative strength of bases are measured in their ionisation constants ( Kb or pKb values).
BOH ⇌ B⊕ + OH ; Kb = [B⊕ ][OH ] ; pKb = − log Kb
Greater the value of Kb or lower the value of pKb stronger will be the base.
(c) The difference in base strength in various amines can be explained on the basis of inductive effect. The +I
effect increases the electron density while –I effect decreases. The amines are stronger bases than NH3 as the alkyl
groups increase electron density on nitrogen due to + I effect while ClNH2 is less basic due to –I effect. “So more is
the tendency to donate electron pair for coordination with proton, the more is basic nature, i.e., more is the
negative charge on nitrogen atom (due to +I effect of alkyl group), the more is basic nature”.
Thus, the basic nature decreases in the order; (C2H5)2 NH > CH3CH2NH2 > CH3 NH2 > NH3 > ClNH2
Diethyl Ethyl Methyl Ammonia Chloro
amine amine amine amine
The order of basicity is as given below;
Alkyl groups (R–) Relative base strength
CH3 R2 NH > RNH2 > R3 N > NH3
C2 H 5 R2 NH > RNH2 > NH3 > R3 N
(CH3)2 CH RNH2 > NH3 > R2 NH > R3 N
(CH3)3 C NH3 > RNH2 > R2 NH > R3 N
Note : The relative basic character of amines is not in total accordance with inductive effect (t > s > p)
but it is in the following order: Secondary > Primary > Tertiary. The reason is believed to be steric
In gas phase or in non aqueous solvents such as chlorobenzene etc, the solvation effect, i.e., the
stabilization of the conjugate acid due to H -bonding are absent and hence in these media the
basicity of amines depends only on the +I effect of the alkyle group thus the basicity of amines
follows the order : 3o > 2o > 1o > NH3 .
(d) As compared to ammonia, methylamine is more basic (+I effect) but aniline is less basic and
diphenylamine is still more weaker (– I effect).
CH3 NH2 > NH3 > C6H5 NH2 > (C6H5)2 NH
(vii) Basicity of alcohols : The decreasing order of base strength in alcohols is due to +I effect of alkyl
(CH3)3 COH > (CH3)2 CHOH > CH3CH2OH > CH3OH
(3o ) (2o ) (1o ) methyl / alcohol
In Lucas test of making distinction between three types (1o,2o and 3o) of monohydric alcohols,
R − OH + HCl(conc.) anhyd. ZnCl2 → R − Cl + H2O
( Acid) (White
The basic character of alcohols is in the order, benzyl > 3o > 2o > 1o and hence, the strongest base (3o ) will
be reacting fastest with conc. HCl in presence of anhydrous ZnCl2 (Lucas reagent) and gives white turbidity
(viii) Stability of carbonium ion :+I effect tends to decrease the (+ve) charge and –I effect tends to
increases the +ve charge on carbocation.
(CH3 )3 C⊕ > (CH3 )2 CH ⊕ > CH 3CH ⊕ > CH ⊕
(ix) Stability of carbanion : Stability of carbanion increases with increasing – I effect.
CH > CH 3 CH > (CH3)2 CH > (CH3 )3 C
Resonance effect or mesomeric effect
(1) The effect in which π electrons are transferred from a multiple bond to an atom, or from a multiple bond
to a single covalent bond or lone pair (s) of electrons from an atom to the adjcent single covalent bond is called
mesomeric effect or simply as M-effect. In case the compound in question is having conjugated system of double
bonds, the mesomeric effect is transmitted through whole of the conjugated system and thus the effect may better
be known as conjugative effect.
(2) Important features of mesomeric effect
(i) It is a permanent effect present in the molecule in the ground state.
(ii) It is operative in unsaturated compounds especially having conjugated systems.
(iii) It involves electrons of π -bonds or lone pair of electrons. This effect operates through conjugative
(iv) In this effect the electron pair is completely transferred and thus full positive and negative charges are
(v) It affects the physical properties such as dipole moment, solubility etc. Rate of reaction fo the substance is
(vi) Groups which have the capacity to increase the electron density of the rest of the molecule are said to
have + M effect. Such groups possess lone pairs of electrons. Groups which decrease the electron density of the
rest of the molecule by withdrawing electron pairs are said to have − M effect, e.g.,
(a) The groups which donate electrons to the double bond or to a conjugated system are said to have + M
effect or + R effect.
CH 2 = CH .. − CH = C⊕l : (+R effect)
− Cl ..
:←→ C H2
In vinyl chloride C − Cl bond has double bond character due to resonance.
+M effect groups : I, .. ..
Cl, Br, N H2, NR2 ,−OH,−OR,−SH,−OCH 3 ,− S R
− − − − − ..
(b) The groups which withdraw electrons form the double bond or from a conjugated system towards itself
due to resonance are said to have − M effect or − R effect.
CH 2 = CH − C ≡ N : ←→ C⊕ H2 − CH = C = : ( − R effect)
Vinyl cyanide N
− M effect groups : − NO2,−C ≡ N, − C −,−CHO,−COOH,−SO3 H
(vii) The inductive and mesomeric effects, when present together, may act in the same direction or oppose
each other. The mesomeric effect is more powerful than the former. For example, in vinyl chloride due to – I effect
the chlorine atom should develop a negative charge but on account of mesomeric effect it has positive charge.
: .. ← CH = CH 2 ←→ : C⊕l = CH − ..
Cl .. CH 2
(3) Application of mesomeric effect : It explains,
(i) Low reactivity of aryl and vinyl halides,
(ii) The acidic nature of carboxylic acids,
(iii) Basic character comparison of ethylamine and aniline,
(iv) The stability of some free radicals, carbocations and carbanions.
(4) Difference between Resonance and Mesomerism : Although both resonance and mesomerism
represent the same phenomenon, they differ in the following respect : Resonance involves all types of electron
displacements while mesomerism is noticeable only in those cases where a multiple bond is in conjugation with a
multiple bond or electron pair.
Example : (i) H2C = CH − CH = CH 2 ←→ H2 .. CH = CH − C⊕ H2
(ii) R − || .. H ←→ R − .O⊕.− H
Both (i) and (ii) are the examples of mesomerism and resonance effect. Let us consider the following example
H .. : ←→ H⊕ . Such an electron displacement is the example of resonance only (not the mesomerism).
(1) When a H − C bond is attached to an unsaturated system such as double bond or a benzene ring, the
sigma (σ) electrons of the H − C bond interact or enter into conjugation with the unsaturated system. The
interactions between the electrons of π systems (multiple bonds) and the adjacent σ bonds (single H − C bonds)
of the substituent groups in organic compounds is called hyperconjugation. The concept of hyperconjugation was
developed by Baker and Nathan and is also known as Baker and Nathan effect.
In fact hyperconjugation effect is similar to resonance effect. Since there is no bond between the α -carbon
atom and one of the hydrogen atoms, the hyperconjugation is also called no-bond resonance.
(2) Orbital concept of hyperconjugation : The orbital concept σπ Hyperconjugation π bond
of hyperconjugation may be explained with the help of propene. In this,
the electron pair of C − H bond (σ -bond) is involved in conjugation with H
the π -electron pair of the double bond. Therefore, hyperconjugation
H–C Bond C C
involves delocalisation of σ -electrons of H − C bond through
overlapping of p -orbitals of double bond as shown in figure. Cσ
Orbital representation of σ-π hyperconjugation
(3) Structural requirement for hyperconjugation
(i) Compound should have at least one sp 2 -hybrid carbon of either alkene alkyl carbocation or alkyl free
(ii) α -carbon with respect to sp 2 hybrid carbon should have at least one hydrogen.
If both these conditions are fulfilled then hyperconjugation will take place in the molecule.
(iii) Hyperconjugation is of three types
(a) σ (C – H), π conjugation : This type of conjugation occurs in alkenes.
C H − CH CH 2 CH 3 CH − CH CH CH3 −C CH = CH2
3 = − | = 2 α| −
CH 3 CH3
(b) σ (C – H), positive charge conjugation : This type of conjugation occurs in alkyl carbocations.
C H3 − C⊕ H2 Cα H3 − C⊕ H − Cα H3 CH3 − C⊕ − Cα H3
(c) σ (C – H), odd electron conjugation : This type of conjugation occurs in alkyl free radicals.
C H3 . Cα H3 . Cα H3
C H2 C
α − sp2 − −
(iv) Resonating structures due to hyperconjugation may be written involving “no bond” between the alpha
carbon and hydrogen atoms.
H H⊕ H H
| ⊕| |
H C| − CH CH 2 H C| CH C H ←→ H C| CH C H ←→ H C CH C H
− H = ←→ − H = − 2 H = − 2 − H = − 2
(v) Number of resonating structures due to the hyperconjugation = Number of α -hydrogens + 1.
Structure Number of α-hydrogens Number of resonating structures
CH3 − CH = CH2 2 3
CH 3 − CH 2 − CH = CH 2 6 7
CH 3 − CH = CH − CH 3
CH 3 − C⊕ H 2
CH 3 − C− CH 3
CH3 − C⊕− CH3
(4) Applications of hyperconjugation
(i) Stability of alkenes : Hyperconjugation explains the stability of certain alkenes over other alkenes.
Stability of alkenes ∝ Number of alpha hydrogens ∝ Number of resonating structures
CH3 − CH = CH2 CH3 − CH2 − CH = CH2 CH3 − C| H − CH = CH2
Stability in decreasing order CH3
CH 3 C=C CH 3 CH 3 C = CH − CH3 CH 3 C = CH 2
CH 3 CH 3 CH 3 CH 3
Number of alpha hydrogens in decreasing order
stability of alkenes in decreasing order
(ii) Carbon-carbon double bond length in alkenes : As we know that the more is the number of
resonating structures, the more will be single bond character in carbon-carbon double bond.
Thus, bond length between carbon double bond ∝ number of resonating structures. Examples,
Structure Number of α-hydrogens Number of resonating Carbon-carbon double
structures bond length in Å
CH 2 = CH 2 Zero Zero 1.34 Å
CH 3 − CH = CH 2 3
CH 3 − CH 2 − CH = CH 2 2 4 1.39 Å
CH3 − |CH − CH = CH2 1
3 1.37 Å
2 1.35 Å
Zero Zero 1.34 Å
CH3 −|C − C H = CH2
(ii) Stability of alkyl carbocations : Stability of alkyl carbocations ∝ number of resonating structures ∝
number of resonating structures ∝ number of alpha hydrogens.
C⊕ H3 CH3 − C⊕ H2 CH3 − C⊕ H − CH3 CH 3 ⊕ CH 3
Number of α-hydrogens in increasing order
Stability in increasing order
(iv) Stability of alkyl free radicals : Stability of alkyl free radicals can be explained by hyperconjugation.
Stability depends on the number of resonating structures.
Structure .. . .
C H3 CH3 − C H2 CH3 − C H − CH3 CH 3 C− CH 3
No. of resonating structures 0 4 7 10
Number of resonating structures in increasing order
Stability is in increasing order
(v) Electron releasing (or donating) power of R in alkyl benzene : CH3 − (or alkyl group) is + R
group, ortho-para directing group and activating group for electrophilic aromatic substitution reaction because of
H H H⊕ H H⊕ H H⊕
| | Θ | |
H − C| − H H − |C| H − |C| H − |C|
The electron donating power of alkyl group will depends on the number of resonating structures, this depends
on the number of hydrogens present on α-carbon. The electron releasing power of some groups are as follows,
CH3 CH − > CH3 C| H3
CH3 − > CH3 − CH2 − > C
− | −
Increasing inductive effect
Electron donating power in decreasing order due to the hyperconjugation.
(vi) Heat of hydrogenation : It is the heat evolved/mol in the addition of hydrogen to form a saturated
C = C +H2 → CH − CH + E(kcal) where E is the heat of hydrogenation.
Lesser the heat of hydrogenation, lesser is the internal energy and more is stability of the system.
Hyperconjugation decreases the heat of hydrogenation. For ethylene it is 32.8 kcal/mol and for propylene, 30.1
(vii) Dipole moment : Since hyperconjugation causes the development of charges, it also affects the dipole
moment in the molecule.
The increase in dipole moment, when hydrogen of formaldehyde (µ = 2.27D) is replaced by methyl group,
i.e., acetaldehyde (µ = 2.72D) can be referred to hyperconjugation, which leads to development of charges.
H H − H CH = O ←→ H − H+ == CH − O−
| | C|
H−C =O C| −
(viii) Orienting influence of alkyl group in o, p -positions and of − CCl3 group in m -position :
Ortho-para directing property of methyl group in toluene is partly due to + I effect and partly due to
(5) Reverse Hyperconjugation : The phenomenon of hyperconjugation is also observed in the system
− C| − C = C ; where X = halogen
In such system the effect operates in the reverse direction. Hence the hyperconjugation in such system is
known as reverse hyperconjugation.
Cl Cl Cl Cl Cl
| |⊕ |⊕
Cl − C| − CH = CH2 ←→ Cl − C| = CH − C H2 ←→ C l C| CH C H C CH C H
Cl = − 2 ←→ − Cl = − 2
The meta directing influence and dectivating effect of CX3 group for electrophilic aromatic substitution
reaction can be explained by this effect.
X X X X
| | | |
X − C| − X X − |C| X X − |C| X X − |C| X
Inductomeric effect is the temporary effect which enhance the inductive effect and it accounts only in the
presence of an attacking reagent.
HO− H − C − Cl → HO............C.............Cl −Cl− → HO − C − H
In methyl chloride the –I effect of Cl group is further increased temporarily by approach of hydroxyl ion.
(1) The phenomenon of movement of electrons from one atom to another in multibonded atoms at the
demand of attacking reagent is called electromeric effect. It is denoted as E-effect and represented by a curved
arrow ( ) showing the shifting of electron pair.
A = B E → A⊕ − :
(2) Important features of electromeric effect
(i) It is a temporary effect
(ii) It is brought into play instantaneously at the demand of the attacking reagent. However as soon as the
attacking reagent is removed, original electronic condition is restored.
Cδ + = Oδ − attacking → C⊕ − attacking → Cδ + = Oδ −
(iii) The electromeric effect is of common occurrence during addition of polar reagents on C = C , C = O and
C ≡ N bonds etc.
(iv) The effect involves the complete transference of π electrons.
(v) In this effect the displaced electrons leave their orbitals and take a new position.
(vi) In this there is complete charge separation and ions are formed.
(vii) There are two types of electromeric effects, i.e., + E effect or − E effect.
(a) When the transfer of electrons take place towards the attacking reagent, the effect is called + E effect. The
addition of acids to alkenes.
C=C + H ⊕ → C + − C| ; CH3 CH = CH2 + H + → CH3 − C⊕ H − CH3
Since, − CH3 group is electron repelling, the electrons are transferred in the direction shown.
The attacking reagent is attached to that atom on which electrons have been transferred.
(b) When the transfer of electrons takes place away from the attacking reagent, the effect is called − E effect.
Example, The addition of cyanide ion to carbonyl compounds.
C = O + CN → C| − O
The attacking reagent does not attached to that atom on which electrons have been transferred.
(3) Direction of the shift of electron pair : The direction of the shift of electron pair can be decided on the
basis of following points.
(i) When the groups linked to a multiple bond are similar, the shift can occur to either direction. For example,
in ethylene the shift can occur to any one of the carbon atoms.
H2C = CH 2 → H 2 C⊕ − CH 2
.. C⊕ Both are similar
H2C = CH 2 → H 2 H2
(ii) When the dissimilar groups are linked on the two ends of the double bond, the shift is decided by the
direction of inductive effect. For example, in propylene the shift can be shown in the following ways,
CH 3 − CH = CH 2 → CH 3 − C⊕ H .. …..(a)
− C H2 …..(b)
CH 3 − CH = CH 2 → CH 3 −CH − C⊕ H 2
Due to electron repelling nature of methyl group, the electronic shift occurs according to Eq. (a) way and not
by Eq. (b) way.
In the case of carbonyl group, the shift is always towards oxygen, i.e., more electronegative atom.
C = O → C⊕ − ..
Note:In cases where inductive effect and electromeric effect simultaneously operate, usually electrometric
Cleavage (fission or breaking) of covalent bonds.
Breaking of covalent bond of the compound is known as bond fission. A bond can be broken by two ways,
(1) Homolytic bond fission or Homolysis
(i) In homolysis, the covalent bond is broken in such a way that each resulting species gets its own electron.
This leads to the formation of odd electron species known as free radical.
A : B → A + B
(ii) The factor which favours homolysis is zero or a small difference in electronegativity between A and B .
(iii) Homolysis takes place in gaseous phase or in the presence of non polar solvents (CCl4 ,CS2) , peroxide,
UV light, heat (≥ 500o C), electricity and free radical.
(iv) Mechanism of the reaction in which homolysis takes place is known as homolytic mechanism or free
(2) Heterolytic bond fission or heterolysis
(i) In heterolysis, the covalent bond is broken in such a way that one species (i.e., less electronegative) is
deprived of its own electron, while the other species gains both the electrons.
A : B → A : +
Thus formation of opposite charged species takes place. In case of organic compounds, if positive charge is
present on the carbon then cation is termed as carbocation. If negative charge is present on the carbon then anion
is termed as carbonion.
(ii) The factor which favours heterolysis is a greater difference of electronegativity between A and B .
(iii) Mechanism of the reaction in which heterolysis takes place is known as heterolytic mechanism or ionic
(iv) The energy required for heterolysis is always greater than that for homolysis due to electrostatic force of
attraction between ions.
Short lived fragments called reaction intermediates result from homolytic and heterolytic bond fission. The
important reaction intermediates are free radicals, carbocations, carbonions, carbenes, benzyne and nitrenes.
A free radical may be defined as an atom or group of atoms having an odd or unpired electron. These result
on account of homolytic fission of a covalent bond and are denoted by putting a dot (.) against the symbol of atom
or group of atoms.
H C| .6H5
. . . |.
Cl ; H; H3 C ; H C C ; C6 H5 C
3 − | − |
Chlorine Hydrogen Methyl
free radical free radical free radical H C6 H5
Ethyl Triphenyl methyl
free radical radical
The first stable organic free radical was triphenyl methyl radical and it was prepared by Gomberg.
(1) Characteristics of free radical.
(i) The formation of free radical is initiated by heat, light or catalysts.
(a) Cl : Cl Energy → C l+ C l (b) H 3C : H 102kcal → H 3 C+ H
.. CH 3 CH 3 ..
(c) H 3C − CH 2 − H 97kcal → H 3C − C H 2 + H (d) CH − H 94 kcal → CH + H
(primary) CH 3 CH 3
CH 3 CH 3 .. ..
(e) CH 3 C − H 91kcal → CH 3 C+ H (f) CH 2 = CH − CH 2 − H 86kcal → CH 2 = CH − C H 2 + H
CH 3 CH 3 (allyl)
(g) − CH2 − H 88kcal → .. ..
− CH2 + H (h) CH 3 − NH 2 heat / light → C H 3 + N H 2
(ii) Free radicals are generally electrically neutral.
(iii) There are seven electrons in the out most orbit of carbon of carbon free radicals.
(iv) Owing to the presence of an odd electron; a carbon radical is paramagnetic in nature. Due to this reason
free radicals are highly reactive.
(v) Free radicals are neutral electrophiles.
(vi) Chemical reactions which takes place with the formation of free radical as an intermediate are known as
free radical reactions. These reactions takes place in three steps,
(a) Initiation (b) Propagation and (c) Termination
Each of these steps, in turn, may involve two or more steps.
(a) Initiation step : In this step, homolytic bond fission takes place in the presence of initiator, i.e., peroxide,
hv , heat etc. The process is always endothermic.
Cl − Cl hvor → C l + C l ∆H = +ve
(b) Propagation step : Propagation step is always two or more than two step process and all propagation
steps should be exothermic, otherwise free radical reactions would not take place.
Propagation step I : In this step, formation of free radical as reaction intermediate takes place. For
.. ∆H = negative
CH3 − H + C l → C H3 + HCl
Propagation step II : Reaction intermediate reacts with reagent to give the product.
.. ∆H = negative
C H3 + Cl − Cl → CH3 − Cl + C l
(c) Termination step : In this step, free radical formed in the last propagation step (generally propagation step
II) is destroyed by the addition of free radical or by the addition of some impurities like CHCl3 or CCl4 .
C l + C l → Cl2
Reaction velocity of free radical reaction is very-very high.
Note:Certain compounds, known as inhibitor, retar velocity of free radical reactions. Common inhibitors
are O2 , I2 , p-benzoquinone and diphenylamine.
(2) Relative stabilities of free radicals : The tertiary alkyl free radicals are most stable and methyl free
radial is least stable, i.e., the free radical formed easily has greater stability.
R > R > H > H
|. |. |. |.
R−C R−C R−C H−C
| | | |
free radical free radical Primary Methyl radical
Benzyl and allyl free radicals are resonance stabilized hence are more stable than alkyl free radicals.
. . = CH2 ←→ = CH2
− C H2 ←→ = CH2 ←→ . .
Benzyl free radical
CH2 = CH − C H2 ←→ C H2 − CH = CH2 (Allyl)
Relative stability of free radicals are : Benzyl > allyl > 3o > 2o >1o > methyl, vinyl
The stability of various free radicals can be compared from their bond dissociation energies (the energy
required for the homolytic cleavage of the covalent bond in the molecule to form two radicals). In general, the
smaller the amount of energy required for bond breaking, the more
stable is the radical. p-orbital Free or unpaired
(3) Structure of alkyl free radicals : The carbon atom of alkyl ↿ electron
free radicals which is bonded to only three atoms or groups of atoms
is sp2 hybridized. Thus, free radicals have a planar structure with odd C 120°
electron situated in the unused p -orbital at right angles to the plane of
However, in the substituted alkyl radicals the ' s' character of Sp2 hybridised c-atom
these orbitals has been found to increase, thus, tending to the
.. . .
C H3 < C H2F < C HF2 < C F3 .
So, CF3 is essentially pyramidal in shape.
(4) Stereochemistry of free radicals : To learn about the stereochemistry of free radical reaction. We
choose the reaction, chlorination of 1-chloro-2-methyl butane. The reaction products are,
H Cl Me Et
C Et Cl2 → C + C CH2Cl
Me CH2Cl Me Et
If we review the insight of the reaction, it is clear that the reaction involves racemization at the reaction centre.
The free radical should have the sp2 hybridisation. Obviously a Cl2 molecule could attack either the upper or
lower lobe of the p -orbital with equal chances, leading to racemic mixture.
Intermediate Cl2 → d − form+ l − form
(5) Reactions involving free radicals,
(i) Chlorination of alkanes (ii) Pyrolysis of alkanes (iii) Wurtz reaction
(iv) Anti-markownikoff rule (v) Kolbe electrolytic synthesis (vi) Polymerisation initiated by free radical.
Carbonium ions (carbocations)
Carbocation is defined as a group of atoms which contain positively charged carbon having only six electrons.
It is obtained by heterolytic fission of a covalent bond involving carbon atom. It is denoted by putting a positive
charge (+) against the symbol of group of atoms.
CH ⊕ C2 H ⊕ (CH 3 )2 CH ⊕ (CH 3 )3 C ⊕
3 5 Isopropyl carbonium ion Tert. Butyl carbonium ion
Methyl carbonium ion Ethyl carbonium ion Secondary Tertiary
(1) Characteristics of carbocations
(i) The formation of carbocations can be done,
(a) By heterolysis of halogen compounds : (CH 3 )3 − C − Cl →(CH 3 )3 C⊕ +
(b) By protonation of alkenes or alcohols : CH 2 = CH2 H⊕ C⊕ H2 − CH3
R−O−H H⊕ R − O⊕ H –H2O R+ + H2O
(c) By decomposition of Diazo compounds : C6H5 − N2 − Cl −Cl → C6H5 N⊕ 2 −N2 → C⊕6 H5 + N2
(ii) Carbocations are not electrically neutral.
(iii) There are six electrons in the out most orbit of carbon of carbocation i.e., 2 electrons less than octet.
(iv) A carbocation is diamagnetic in nature due to all paired electrons.
(v) Carbocations are charged electrophiles i.e., they react with nucleophilic reagents. The order of reactivity of
carbocations is, Primary (1o) > Secondary (2o) > Tertiary (3o)
(2) Types of carbocations : Carbocations can be classified into the following types,
(i) Alkyl carbocations
(a) When positive charge is present on the alkyl carbon, carbocation is known as alkyl carbocation.
(b) Alkyl carbocation is of four types
C⊕ H 3 R − C⊕ H 2 R − C⊕ H − R R3 C⊕
Methyl carbocation Primary alkyl carbocations Secondary alkyl carbocations Tertiary alkyl carbocations
(c) Stability of alkyl carbocations can be explained by
Inductive effect and Hyperconjugation.
(d) According to these two effects the stability order is as follows :
R − C⊕ − R R − C⊕ H − R R − C⊕ H 2 C⊕ H 3
Stability in decreasing order
(e) If α -atom with respect to carbocationic carbon has one or more than one lone pair of electrons then lone
pair of electrons strongly stabilises a carbocation due to the delocalisation.
Alkoxy and amino groups are important substituents for such type of carbocations.
CH 3 .. − C⊕ H 2 is more stable than R − C⊕ − R ; CH 3 − .. C⊕ H 2 is more stable than R − C⊕ − R
CH 3 N | O− |
(ii) Vinyl carbocation : When positive charge is present on vinylic carbon then carbocation is known as
vinyl carbocation, CH2 = C⊕ H
This carbocation is the least stable because positive charge is present on the electronegative carbon.
(iii) Allyl carbocation : (CH2 = CH − C⊕ H2 )
(a) When positive charge is present on the allylic carbon of the allyl group, the carbocation is known as allyl
(b) Allyl carbocations are more stable than the alkyl carbocations due to the resonance. Allyl carbocations are
stabilised by delocalisation (or resonance).
(c) Allyl carbocations are of the following types,
CH 2 = CH − C⊕ H 2 CH2 = CH − C⊕ H − R CH 2 = CH − C⊕ − R
Primary Secondary |
(d) Stability of primary, secondary and tertiary allyl carbocations can be compared by, Inductive effect and
Hyperconjugation. Thus, tertiary is more stable than secondary which is more stable than primary allyl carbocation.
(iv) Phenyl methyl carbocations
(a) When positive charge is present on benzyl carbon, carbocation is known as phenyl methyl carbocation.
(b) Phenyl methyl carbocations are of three types,
C6 H5 − C⊕ H 2 C6 H5 − C⊕ H − C6 H5 C6 H5 − C⊕ − C6 H5
Benzyl carbocation Diphenyl methyl Triphenyl methyl
or carbocation carbocation
Phenyl methyl carbocation (2o-carbocation)
(c) Stability of phenyl methyl carbocations can be explained by resonance.
Structure : C6 H5 − C⊕ − C6 H5 C6 H5 − C⊕ H − C6 H5 C6 H5 − C⊕ H 2
No. of resonating
10 7 4
(i) Number of resonating structures in decreasing order
(ii) Stability in decreasing order.
(d) Phenyl methyl carbocations are more stable than allyl carbocations due to the number of resonating
(v) Aromatic carbocations
(a) Cations in which positive charge is present on carbon of aromatic system is known as aromatic
(b) Aromatic carbocations are so stable that even their solid states are known. For example tropolium
carbocation as tropolium bromide is a yellow solid. It fact tropolium carbocation is about 1011 times more stable
than triphenyl methyl carbocation .
(c) Cations obeying Huckel (4n+2) rule are stable because they are aromatic and there is complete
delocalisation of positive charge.
(vi) Cyclopropyl methyl carbocations
(a) These carbocations are very stable carbocations. They are more stable than benzyl carbocations.
(b) Stability of cyclopropy methyl carbocations increases with every cyclopropyl group. Thus additional
cyclopropyl group has commulative additive effect on the stability. Thus,
C⊕ > C⊕H > C⊕ H2
Stability in decreasing order
(c) The special stability is a result of conjugation between the bent orbitals of the cyclopropyl ring and the
vacant- p -orbital of the cationic carbon.
(3) Relative : Stability of different types of carbocations in decreasing order
C⊕ > C⊕H > >
(C6H5)3 C⊕ > (C6H5)2 C⊕ H > C6H5 − C⊕ H2 ≥ CH2 = CH − C⊕ H2 ≥
R − C⊕ − R > R − C⊕ H − R > R − C⊕ H2 > C⊕ H3 > CH2 = C⊕ H
Note : More stable is a carbocation, the more easily it is formed.
(4) Structure of carbocation : The carbon atom in carbocation is sp2 Vacant orbital
hybridised. The three sp2 hybrid orbitals form three σ bonds with hydrogen or unhybridised
other carbon atoms of alkyl groups. The unhybridised p -orbital of carbon remains
vacant. Since it involves sp2 hybridisation, its structure is planar with a bond angle
of 120o .
(5) Reactions involving carbocations Planar structure of carbocation
(i) Electrophilic addition reactions (ii) SN1 reactions (iii) Electrophilic substitution reactions
(iv) Molecular rearrangement reactions, e.g., Pinacole-Pinacolone rearrangement.
(6) Rearrangement in carbocations
(i) Rearrangement takes place in primary and secondary carbocations.
p -carbocation Rearrangement ter-carbocation or sec. carbocation
Driving force for rearrangement is the stability factor (Less stable species wants to convert into more stable
(ii) For rearrangement, carbocation should have at least three carbons. (α, β and γ ).
(iii) If β -carbon has hydrogen as well as alkyl group then rearrangement is due to the migration of hydrogen
in the form of hydride ion from β to α -carbon. If β -carbon has only hydrogens then hydrogen migrates. If β -
carbon has only alkyl groups then alkyl group migrates from β to α -carbon.
| 1.2 H shift C− 1.2 CH3 shift
CH3 − C − C⊕ H2 CH3 − ⊕ CH3 ; CH3 − C⊕ H ⊕
C− CH3 − C − CH2 − CH3
CH3 CH3 CH3 CH3
p − Carbocation ter −Carbocation
CH3 − CH2 − C⊕ H2 CH3 − C⊕ H − CH3
1.2 H shift
Note : If the number of products of the reaction is more than the expected products then product
formation takes place by formation of carbocation and there is rearrangement in carbocation.
C| H3 C| H3 OH
CH3 − C − CH2 − Cl NaOH → CH3 − C − CH2OH + CH3 − C − CH2 − CH3
CH3 CH3 CH3
A carbanion may be defined as a species containing a carbon atom carrying a negative charge. These are
generated by the heterolytic fission of covalent bond involving carbon atom in which the atom linked to carbon
goes without the bonding electrons.
It is denoted by putting a negative charge (–) against the symbol of group of atoms.
CH C2 H 5 (CH3)2 CH (CH3)3 C
Methyl carbanion Ethyl carbanion Isopropyl carbanion Tert. butyl carbanion
Primary Secondary Tertiary
(1) Characteristics of carbanions,
(i) The formation of carbanions can be done,
(a) By attack of base on hydrogen atom : Organic compounds which possess a labile or acidic hydrogen have
the tendency to produce carbanions as in the case of reactive methylene compounds which lose proton in presence
of sodium ethoxide (C2H5ONa) .
COOC2 H 5 COOC2 H 5
CH2 + C2H5 O → CH
COOC2 H 5
COOC2 H 5
(b) By decarboxylation of carboxylate ion : R − CH2 − C O
→ R − C H2 + CO2
(c) By the formation of organometallic compound ; CH3 − Cl Mg/ ether → CH3MgCl Mg⊕Cl
→ C H 3 +
(ii) Carbanions are not electrically neutral.
(iii) There are eight electrons in the outermost orbit of carbanionic carbon hence its octet is complete.
(iv) A carbanion is diamagnetic in nature due to all paired electrons.
(v) Carbanions are charged nucleophiles i.e., they react with electrophilic reagents. The order of reactivity of
carbanions is, Tertiary (3o) > Secondary (2o) >Primary (1o) (Decreasing order)
(2) Stability of carbanions : The stability of carbanion may be explained by
(i) Electronegativity of carbanionic carbon
Stability ∝ Electronegativity of carbanionic carbon ∝ % s -character of carbanionic carbon
CH3 C H2 CH2 C H
− = ↑ CH ≡ C
% s -character in increasing order.
Stability in inceasing oder.
(ii) Inductive effect : Stability of carbanions depends on the +I or – I group as follows :
(a) Stability ∝ + I power 1 the group
C H3 R → C H2 R → C H2 ← R R→C→R
+ I power in increasing order.
Stability in decreasing order.
(b) Stability of carbanions ∝ − I power of the group.
For example :
I C H2 Br C H2 C H2 F C H2
– I power of halo group is in increasing order
Stability is in increasing order
(iii) Delocalisation or Resonance : Allyl and benzyl carbanions are stabilised by delocalisation of negative
CH2 = CH − C H2 C6H5 − C H2 (C6H5)2 C H (C6H5)3 C
2 4 7 10
Number of resonating structures is in increasing order
Stability is in increasing order.
(iv) Stabilisation by sulphur and phosphorous : Attachment of carbanionic carbon of a sulphur and
phosphorus atom causes an increase in carbanion stability.
The cause of stability is due to the delocalisation of negative charge of carbanion by vaccant d -orbital
pπ − dπ bonding) of phosphorus and sulphur.
(v) Stabilisation by >C=O, –NO2 and CN groups present on carbanionic carbon :These groups
stabilise carbanion by resonance effect.
|| | O
C H2 − C− R ←→ CH2 = C− R C H2 − N ←→ CH2 = N
Carbanion Enolate ion
(I) (II) O
Contribution of structure (II) will be more than (I) because in (II) negative charge is present on electronegative
(vi) Stability of Aromatic carbanions
(a) Anions in which negative charge is present on carbon of aromatic system is known as aromatic
(b) Aromatic carbanions are most stable carbanions.
(c) Anions obeying Huckel rule are stable because they are aromatic and there is complete delocalisation of
(3) Relative stability of different types of carbanions in decreasing order
Aromatic carbanion > Benzyl carbanion > Allyl carbanion > >
CH ≡ C
C H > R − C− R
CH2 = C H > Alkyl carbanion C H3 > R − C H2 >
(4) Structure of carbanion : The negatively charged carbon atom in sp3 Hybrid orbital
carbanion is sp3 hybridised. Therefore, it has a pyramidal structure. Three of the containing lone
four sp3 hybridised orbitals form 3σ bonds with hydrogen or carbon atom of the . . pair
alkyl group. The fourth sp3 hybrid orbital contains the lone pair of electrons. C
Note : Geometry of allyl and benzyl carbanion is almost planar and Pyramidal structure of
hybridisation is sp2 .
Methyl anion is isostructural (pyramidal) and isoelectronic (eight valency electrons) with ammonia.
The carbanions having three different bulky groups are not optically active. It is due to pyramidal
structure of carbanion which is not rigid and shows a rapid equilibrium between following two
enantiomeric pyramidal structures.
R′ C : :C R′′
(5) Reactions involving carbanions
(i) Condensation reactions of carbonyl compounds, i.e., Aldol condensation, Perkin reaction, Reformatsky
(ii) Condensation reaction of ester; Claisen condensation.
(iii) Witting reaction.
A carbene may be defined as a species in which carbon atom has six electrons in the outer X . .
shell (electron deficient), out of which two constitute a lone pair and two are shared. So they are C
divalent carbon species containing two unpaired electrons and possess no charge.
The simplest carbene is C H2 which known as methylene. Substituted carbenes are simply named as
.. .. ..
derivative of carbenes. For example, C6H5 − C H R − C− R C Cl2
Phenyl carbene Dialkyl carbene Dichloro carbene
(1) Characteristics of carbnes
(i) Carbenes can be formed,
(a) By the photochemical decomposition or pyrolysis of aliphatic diazo compounds or ketenes.
CH2 N2 hν or heat → : CH2 + N2 ; R − CHN 2 hν or heat → RCH : + N2
(UV ) Carbene Alkyl carbene
RCO − CHN2 hν or heat → RCO − CH :+ N2 ; CH2 = C = O →: CH2 + CO
Acyl carbene Ketene Carbene
(b) By the action of a base on suitable polyhalogen compound.
CHCl3 + C2H5ONa → : CCl2+ C2H5OH + NaCl
Chloroform Dichloro carbene
CHCl3 + (CH3 )3 CO ⇌ (CH3)3 C − OH+ : CCl3 → : CCl2 + Cl −
Tert. butoxide ion
(ii) Carbenes are related to carbanions through the α -elimination reaction.
CHX3 alc.KOH/ ∆ →
H⊕ + C X3
CX2 + X
(iii) Carbenes are neutral, divalent, highly reactive carbon intermediates. They works as electrophiles.
(2) Types and stability of carbenes
Carbenes are of two types
(i) Singlet : When both the electrons go into one orbital and have opposite spin (antiparallel), i.e., the
unshared electrons are paired in one orbital and has a bent strucutre.
C; CH2 : ; 103o C ; C
The singlet state is actually found to have H − C − H bond angle 103o (between 90o to 120o ) and a C − H
bond length of 1.12Å. It is generally considered as the less stable.
(ii) Triplet : When the two electrons go into different orbitals and have same spin (parallel), i.e., the unshared
electrons are not paired. Such carbene would have a permanent magnetic moment and would exist in three closely
grouped energy state, if it were placed in a magnetic field. Such a state is called triplet state and is believed to be a
C ; CH2 : ; 180o CR
H C H ;R
With H − C − H bond angle 180o and a C − H bond length of 1.03Å, it might be considered as a free
diradical and is more stable.
(3) Reactions involving carbenes
(i) Addition to alkenes : Formation of cyclo alkane derivatives, e.g.,
(a) H 2C = CH 2 + : CH 2 → H 2C − CH 2 (b) C=C + ↑↓ CH2 → C−C
Ethene Carbene H H C(sainrbgelente) CH 2
CH2 Cis -alkene H H
H3C H H3C H
(c) C = C + ↑↓ CH2 → C−C
C(sainrbgelente) CH 2
H CH 3 H
Trans- 2- butene
(d) Conversely, the triplet carbenes add on alkenes in a non-stereo specific manner to form both (cis- and
RR R RR H
C=C + ↑↑ CH2 → C−C + C−C
H C(Tarribpelente) CH 2 HH CH 2
H H R
(Cis −) (Trans −)
Cis - alkene
(e) In case of conjugated or cumulative dienes, the addition always occurs exclusively at 1,2-position.
H2C = C = CH2 + : CH2 → H2 C − C = CH2
H2C = CH − CH = CH2 + : CH2 → H2 C − CH − CH = CH2
1,3 − butadiene
(ii) Insertion reactions : Carbenes are also used in its insertion between the C − H bond, e.g.,
|| (Next homologue)
— C— H+ : CH 2 — C— CH 2 −H
H — C — H+ : CH 2 H — C — CH2 − H
Further it can be inserted in all the possible positions (pri-, sec-, tert-).
CH3CH2CH2H + : CH2 → CH3CH2CH2CH3 and CH3 CHCH3
Propane n− butane |
Iso − butane
(iii) Ring expansion reactions : These involve the addition of a halogeno carbene across a double bond
followed by rearrangement.
(a) + : CCl2 CHCl3 /C2H5ONa → Cl −HCl → Cl
N carbene Cl
H 3-chloro pyidine
(b) + : CHCl → H ⊕
Chloro C Cl–
N C Cl −HCl →
(c) + : CHCl → N
N H Quinoline
(iv) Carbylamine reaction : By heating a mixture of primary amine and chloroform with ethanolic
potassium hydroxide to form isocyanide (carbylamine) is known as carbylamine reaction.
RNH 2 + CHCl3 + 3KOH → RNC + 3KCl + 3H 2O
Mechanism : CHCl3 OH− → : Cl3 → : CCl2 + Cl −
(− H2O) Dichloro carbene
(v) Reimer-Tiemann reaction : Phenol on heating with chloroform and aqueous alkali followed by acid
hydrolysis to yield salicylaldehyde is known as Reimer-Tiemann reaction.
+ CHCl3 + 3KOH → CHO
+ 3KCl + 2H2O
Comparision of Free radical, Carbocation, Carbanion and Carbene
Characteristic Free radical Carbocation Carbanion Carbene
Nature Neutral having odd electron Positive charge on C
Negative charge on Neutral, divalent
C with 2 unshared
Hybridisation sp2 sp2 conjugated) (i) sp2 (singlet)
Pyramidal/Planar (ii) sp (triplet)
Structure Planar Planar Diamagnetic (i) Planar (singlet)
(ii) Linear (triplet)
Magnetism Paramagnetic Diamagnetic (i) Diamagnetic
Stability order .. . Ph3 C+ > Ph2 + > Ph3C > Ph2CH > Triplet > singlet
Ph3 C > Ph2 CH > Ph CH 2 > CH
CH2 = CH − CH2 > 3o > 2o >
PhCH 2 > CH 2 = CH − CH 2 > PhCH2 > Allyl>
1o > CH2 > CH2 = CH 3o > 2o > 1o > CH3 > 1o > 2o > 3o
(1) 1, 2-Didehydrobenzene, C6H4 and its derivatives are called benzyne or arynes and the simplest member
(2) It is neutral reaction intermediate derived from benzene ring by removing two substituents, of ortho
positions, one in the form of electrophile and other in the from of nucleophile leaving behind two electrons to be
destributed between two orbitals.
Abnormal π bond
ouside the ring
(3) Benzye intermediate is aromatic in character.
(4) When halobenzene is heated with sodamide formation of benzyne takes place.
(5) (i) It behaves as dienophile and gives Diels-Alder reaction with diene.
(ii) It reacts with strong nucleophile like NH 2
NH2H⊕ → NH2
+ N H 2 → ..
Nitrenes (R – N : )
(1) The nitrogen analogous of carbenes are called nitrenes.
(2) There is posibility of two spin states for nitrenes depending on whether the two non-bonding electrons (the
normal nitrogen lone pair remains paired) have their spins paired or parallel.
R – .N. These two are lone pair of electrons
These two may be paired or unpaired
(3) In general nitrenes obey Hunds rule and are ground state triplet with two degenerate sp -orbitals
containing a single electron each.
(4) Nitrenes can be generated, in situ, by the following methods,
(i) By action of Br2 in presence of a base on a 1o amide (Hofmann-bromamide reaction),
O O O
|| || || . .
R − C− NH2 Br2 / NaOH →R C− NH 2 OH− → R C− N Br
1o Amide − − H2O − .. −
|| . .
R C− N Rearrangement →O =C= N R KOH → R − NH2 + K2CO3
−Br− → − .. Isocyanate − 1o Amine
(ii) By decomposition of azides in presence of heat or light.
.. = N+ = .. .. N ≡ N
R−N Alkyl azide N :− ∆orhν → R − N : +
(iii) Unsubstituted nitrene (H − N :) can be obtained by photolysis of (or by passing electric discharge
through) NH3, N2H4 or N3H .
Most of the attacking reagents carry either a positive or a negative charge. The positively charged reagents
attack the regions of high electron density in the substrate molecule while the negatively charged reagents will attack
the regions of low electron density in the substrate molecule. The fission of the substrate molecule to create centres
of high or low electron density is influenced by attacking reagents. Most of the attacking reagents can be classified
into two main groups.
(1) Electrophiles or electrophilic reagents. (2) Nucleophiles or nucleophilic reagents.
(1) Electrophiles : Electron deficient species or electron acceptor is electrophile.
It can be classified into two categories :
(i) Charged electrophiles (E⊕ ), (ii) Neutral electrophiles (E)
(i) Charged electrophiles : Positively charged species in which central atom has incomplete octet is charged
H ⊕ , X ⊕ , R ⊕ , N⊕ O N.⊕. = O, S⊕ O3 H
Note : All cations are charged electrophiles except cations of IA, IIA group elements, Al +++ and ⊕
(ii) Neutral electrophiles : It can be classified into three categories,
(a) Neutral covalent compound in which central atom has incomplete octet is neutral electrophile,
. .. ..
BeCl2, BH3, ZnCl2, AlX3, FeX3, CH3, CH2, CX2
(b) Neutral covalent compound in which central atom has complete or expended octet and central atom has
unfilled –d-sub-shell is neutral electrophile,
SnCl4 , SiCl4 , PCl5 , SF6 , IF7
(c) Neutral covalent compound in which central atom is bonded only with two or more than two
electronegative atoms is neutral electrophile.
BeCl 2 , BX 3 , AlX3 , FeX 3 , SnCl4 , PCl3 ; ..
PCl5 , NF3 , C X 2 , CO2 , SO3 , CS2 ,
Note : Cl2, Br2 and I2 also behave as neutral electrophiles.
Electrophiles are Lewis acids.
General organic chemistry
Types of organic reactions.
It is convenient to classify the numerous reactions of the various classes of organic compound into four types,
• Substitution reactions, • Addition reaction,
• Elimination reactions, • Rearranged reactions,
Replacement of an atom or group of the substrate by any other atom or group is known as substitution
reactions. Substituting or
Examples : CH3 − CH2 − Br+ NaOH → CH3 − CH2OH+ NaBr
Ethyl bromide Ethyl alcohol
(Bromine atom is replaced by hydroxyl group)
CH3OH + H − Br → CH3 − Br + H2O C6 H6 + HNO3 H2SO4(conc.) → C6 H5 NO2 + H 2O
Methyl alcohol Methyl bromide Benzene (Conc.) Nitrobenzene
(Hydroxyl group is replaced by bromine) (Hydrogen is replaced by NO2 group)
CH3 − CH = CH2 + Cl2 500°C → Cl − CH2 − CH = CH2 + H − Cl
Propylene Allyl chloride
(Hydrogen is replaced by chlorine)
C6 H6 + Cl2 FeCl3 → C6 H5 − Cl+ H − Cl
(Hydrogen is replaced by chlorine)
Types of substitution reactions : On the basis of the nature of attacking species substitution reactions are
classified into following three categories,
(1) Nucleophilic substitution reactions, (2) Electrophilic substitution reactions,
(3) Free radical substitution reactions
(1) Nucleophilic substitution reactions
(i) Many substitution reactions, especially at the saturated carbon atom in aliphatic compounds such as alkyl
halides, are brought about by nucleophilic reagents or nucleophiles.
R − X + OH → R − OH + X
Substrate Nucleophile Leaving group
Such substitution reactions are called nucleophilic substitution reactions, i.e., SN reactions (S stands for
substitution and N for nucleophile).
(ii) The weaker the basicity of a group of the substrate, the better is its leaving ability.
Leaving power of the group ∝ 1
Basicity of the group
Example : HI>HBr> HCl > HF →
I Br Cl F→
Decreasing leaving ability
(iii) The leaving power of some nucleophilic groups are given below in decreasing order,
O O O OO
|| || || || ||
CF3 S− O Br S− O CH 3 S− O C6 H5 S− O CH 3 S− O
− > > > − > −
|| || || || ||
O O O OO
> > > CF3 − > H3 O⊕ > > > CH 3 −
I Br C− O Cl F C− O
(iv) In these reactions leaving group of the substrate is replaced by another nucleophile. If reagent is neutral
than leaving group is replaced by negative part of the reagent. Negative part of the reagent is always nucleophilic in
R − L +δ −δ R − Nu + ;
E −Nu → L R − L + Nu → R − Nu + L
(v) In SN reactions basicity of leaving group should be less than the basicity of incoming nucleophilic group.
Thus strongly basic nucleophilic group replaces weakly basic nucleophilic group of the substrate.
Example : R − Cl OH → R − OH +
( NaOH )
Basicity of OH is more than hence
Cl OH replaces Cl as Cl
R − OH Θ R − Cl + OΘH
Basicity of is less than hence will not replace OH as .
Cl OH Cl OH
(vi) Unlike aliphatic compounds having nucleophilic group as leaving group, aromatic compounds having
same group bonded directly with aromatic ring do not undergo nucleophilic substitution reaction under ordinary
The reason for this unusual reactivity is the presence of lone pair or π bond on key atom of the functional
group. Another factor for the low reactivity is nucleophilic character of aromatic ring.
(vii) The SN reactions are divided into two classes, SN2 and SN1 reactions.
Distinction between SN2 and SN1 reactions
Factors SN2 Reactions SN1 Reactions
Number of steps Two: (i) R : L Slow → R + + : L
Reaction rate and order (ii) R + + : Nu− Fast → R : Nu
R : L+ : Nu → R : Nu+ : L First order:
Rate ∝ [Substrate] [Nucleophile] or Rate ∝ [Substrate] or Rate = K1[RL]
Rate = K2[RL][: Nu ]
Molecularity Bimolecular Unimolecular
TS of slow step
: Nδ −u− − − C − −− : δL− : Nu − − − δC+ − − − δL− − − − Nu :
Reacting nucleophile The nucleophile attacks the carbon of The nucleophile can attack the carbon of the
the substrate exclusively from the back substrate both on the back and front sides
side. although the back side attack predominates.
Stereochemistry Complete inversion of configuration Inversion and retention takes place.
Reactivity order of alkyl Methyl>1°>2°>3°halides. 3°>2°>1° > methyl halides. (I > Br > Cl > F)
halides (I > Br > Cl > F)
Rearrangement Rearrange products can be formed.
No rearrange product is form (except
Nature of nucleophiles for allylic). Favoured by mild and low concentration of
Favoured by strong and high nucleosides.
Polarity concentration of nucleophiles. Favoured by solvents of high polarity.
Reaction rate determining Favoured by solvents of low polarity. By electronic factor (stability of R⊕ ).
factor By steric hindrance.
Catalysis Catalysed by Lewis and Bronsted acids, e.g.,
Not catalysed by any catalyst (phase A⊕g, AlCl3, ZnCl2 and strong HA.
(2) Electrophilic substitutions reactions : Electrophilic substitution involves the attack by an electrophile.
It is represented as SE (S stands for substitution and E stands for elctrophile). If the order of reaction is 1, it is
written as SE1 (unimolecular)and if the order is 2, it is SE2 (Bimolecular).
SE1 Reaction mechanism : Electrophilic substitution in aliphatic SE2 Reaction mechanism : Electophilic substitution
compounds (SN1) are very rare; some of the important examples are: (SE2) is very common in benzene nucleus (aromatic
compounds) in which π-electrons are highly
(i) Replacement of the metal atom in an organometallic compound
delocalized and an electrophile can attack this
by hydrogen : ⊕⊕
region of high electron density.
e.g., CH3 − CH2 − MgBr −MgBr → CH3 Θ H⊕ → CH3 − CH3 In all electorphilic aromatic substitution
reactions, it involves:
− CH 2
CH3 CH2 MgBr H Br CH3 CΘH 2 ⊕ CH3 CH3 MgBr2 Step 1. The formation of an electrophile, ⊕ i.e.,
− − + − → − H → − + E,
CH3 − CH2Na + C6H6 → CH3 − CH3 + C6H5 Na In halogenation; Cl − Cl + FeCl3 → C⊕l+ Fe CΘl4
(ii) Decarboxylation of silver salt of carboxylic acid by means of In nitration; HNO3 2H2SO4 ⊕ Θ⊕
→ NO2 + 2 HSO4 + H3O
In sulphonation; 2H2SO4 Θ⊕
→ SO3 + HSO4 + H3O
R3C Br Θ δ+ δ− ⊕ In Friedel-crafts reaction; R − Cl + AlCl3 ⊕Θ
C− OAg Br R3C C− O+ Br− Br + Ag
− + − → − → R+ AlCl4
RCOCl + AlCl3 → RCO+ AlCl4
→ R3C − Br + CO2 + AgBr
Step 2. The electrophile attacks the aromatic ring to
(iii) Isotopic exchange of hydrogen for deuterium or tritium: form carbonium ion (or arenium ion) which is
⊕⊕ stabilized by resonance.
R−H+D⇋ R−D+H HE HE HE
⊕⊕ ⊕ ⊕ ⊕
R−H+T ⇋ R−T+H +E→
Step 3. Carbonium ion loses the proton to form
substitution product. H E E
The bromination of benzene in the presence of
FeBr3 in example of electrophilic substitution.
Similarly, Nitration, sulphonation and Friedel-
Crafts reaction…..etc., in benzene nucleus are the
other examples of electrophilic substitution.
(3) Free radical substitution reactions : Free radical substitution reactions involves the attack by an free
radical. These reactions occurs by free radical mechanism which involves : Initiation, Propagation and Termination
(i) Chlorination of methane : The chlorination of methane in the presence of ultraviolet light is an
examples of free radical substitution (HOMOLYSIS).
CH4 + Cl2 UV → CH3Cl + HCl
Methane Methyl chloride
The reaction does not stop with the formation of methyl chloride (CH3Cl) but the remaining hydrogen atoms
are replaced one by one with chlorine atoms to give rise chain reaction.
CH 3Cl + Cl2 → CH 2Cl2 + HCl
CH 2Cl2 + Cl2 → CHCl3 + HCl
CHCl3 + Cl2 → CCl4 + HCl
Reactivity of the halogens for free radical substitution is in the order : F2 > Cl2 > Br2 > I 2
(ii) Arylation of aromatic compounds (Gomberg reaction) : The reaction of benzene diazonium halide
with benzene gives diphenyl by a free radical substitution reaction.
C6H5 − H + C6H5 N2 X Alkali → C6H5 − C6H5 + N2 + HX
Benzene diazonium halide Diphenyl
(iii) Wurtz reaction : Ethyl bromide on treatment with metallic sodium forms butane, ethane and ethylene
by involving free radical mechanism.
C2H5 − Br + 2Na + Br − C2H5 Ether → C2H5 − C2H5 + 2NaBr
C2H5 − Br + Na → C2 H5 + NaBr
C2 H5 + C2 H5 → C2H5 − C2H5 (Butane)
2CH 3 . Disproportionation → CH3 − CH3 + CH 2 = CH 2
− C H2 Ethane Ethylene
(iv) Allylic bromination by NBS (N-Bromosuccinimide) : NBS is a selective brominating agent and it
normally brominates the ethylenic compounds in the allylic (CH2 = CH − CH2 −) position. This type of reaction
involving substitution at the alpha carbon atom with respect to the double bond is termed Allylic substitution. It is
also used for benzylic bromination. Some examples are:
CH2 − CO CH2 − CO
(a) CH3 − CH = CH2 + N − Br CCl4 → Br − CH2 − CH = CH2 + NH
Propene CH2 − CO Allyl bromide CH2 − CO
Note : Halogenation of alkanes occurs by a free radical mechanism and is catalysed by radical initiators
like (C6 H5COO)2, Pb(CH3 )4 , Pb(C2H5 )4 etc.
These reactions are given by those compounds which have at least one π bond,
i.e., (> C = C <,−C ≡ C−,− C −, C ≡ N). In this reaction there is loss of one π bond and gain of two σ bonds.
Thus product of the reaction is generally more stable than the reactant. The reaction is a spontaneous reaction.
Types of addition reactions : Addition reactions can be classified into three categories on the basis of the
nature of initiaing species.
(1) Electrophilic additions (2) Nucleophilic additions and (3) Free radical additions
(1) Electrophilic addition reactions
(i) This reaction is mainly given by alkenes and alkynes.
(ii) Electrophilic addition reactions of alkenes and alkynes are generally two step reactions.
(iii) Alkenes and alkynes give electrophilic addition with those reagents which on dissociation gives
electrophile as well as nucleophile.
(iv) If the reagent is a weak acid then electrophilic additon is catalysed by strong acids (Generally H2SO4 ).
(v) Unsymmetrical alkenes and alkynes give addition reactions with unsymmetrical reagents according to
The negative part of the reagent adds on that doubly bonded carbon of the alkene which has least number of
This rule can be used only in those alkenes which fulfil the following conditions:
(a) Alkene should be unsymmetrical.
(b) Substituent/substituents present on doublly bonded carbon/(s) should only be +I group.
(c) If phenyl group is present on doublly bonded carbon, then both doublly bonded carbons should be
substituted by phenyl groups.
For example, the following alkenes will give addition according to the Markownikoff’s rule.
CH 3 CH3 C6 H5 C = CH − C6 H5, C6 H5 − CH = CH2
CH3 − CH = CH2 , C = CH2 , C = CH − CH3
CH 3 CH3 C6 H5
Following alkenes will not give addition reaction according to Markownikoff’s rule.
R C=C R C6 H5 C=C C6 H5
, C6 H5
CH 2 = CH 2, R − CH = CH − R,
R R C6 H5
(vi) Unsymmetrical alkenes having the following general structure give addition according to anti
CH 2 = CH − G
where G is a strong –I group such as − CX 3 ,−NO2, − CN,−CHO,−COR,−COOH,− C− Z (Z = Cl, OH, OR, NH 2 )
Example: CH 2 = CH − CHO + HCl Anti-Markovnikov addition → | 2 − CH 2 − CHO
(vii) Mechanism of electrophilic addition reactions is as followes, C = C + E⊕ Slow → C+ − | E
⊕| XΘ Fast → |
C− C− E + C− C− E
(2) Nucleophilic addition reactions : When the addition reaction occurs on account of the initial attack of
nucleophile, the reaction is said to be a nucleophilic addition reaction. Due to presence of strongly electronegative
oxygen atom, the π -electrons of the carbon-oxygen double bond in carbonyl group ( C = O ) get shifted towards
the oxygen atom and thereby such bond is highly polarised. This makes carbon atom of the carbonyl group electron
C=O ↔ C⊕ − ≡ δC+ − δO−
Example : The addition of HCN to acetone is an example of nucleophilic addtion.
CH3 CH3 OH
C = O+ HCN → C
CH3 CH3 CN
The mechanism of the reaction involves the following steps:
Step 1. HCN gives a proton (H⊕ ) and nucleophile, a cyanide ion
HCN → H ⊕ + CN
Step 2. The nucleophile (CN ) attacks the positively charged carbon as to form an anion [ H ⊕ does not
attack the negatively charged oxygen as anion is more stable than cation].
CH3 CH 3 CH 3
C = O → CN C
CN C − O or O
CH CH 3 CH 3 CN
Step 3. The proton (H + ) combines with anion to form the addition product.
CH 3 ⊕ | CH 3 OH
CN C − O+ H → NC − C − OH or C
CH 3 | CH 3 CN
In C = O compounds, the addition of liquid HCN gives cyanohydrin and the addendum is CN − ion
(addition is catalysed by bases or salts of weak acids and retarded by acids or unaffected by neutral compounds)
and not HCN directly.
C = O +δH+ −CδN− → ⊕ CN→ OH
C− O C O H⊕→
Nucleophilic addition (AN ) reactions on carbonyl compounds will be in order:
H H3C H3C
C=O > C=O > C=O
H H H3C
Note : Decreasing order of nucleophilic addition in some species.
C6 H5CH2COCH3 > CH3COCH3 > C6 H5 − C− CH3 > C6 H5 − C− C6 H5
− CHO > −COCH3 > −COCl > −COOCH3 > −CONH 2 > −COOH
(3) Free radical addition reactions : Those reactions which involve the initial attack by a free radical are
known as free radical reactions. Addition of hydrogen bromide to alkenes (say, propylene) in the presence of
peroxide (radical initiator) follows free radical mechanism. Free radical reactions generally take place in non-polar
solvents such as CCl4 , high temperature, in presence of light or a free radical producing substance like O2 and
peroxides. The essential steps of the reactions are as follows.
Initiation (Formation of free radical)
(a) RO − OR → 2R O (b) HBr + RO → ROH + Br
Peroxide Free radicals
Propagation. CH3 .. Br
CH = CH 2 + Br → CH 3 − C H − CH 2 − Br or |.
Secondary (2°) free radical (more stable)
CH 3 − C H − C H 2
Primary (1°) free radical (less stable)
CH3 − CH − CH2 − Br + HBr → CH3 − CH2 − CH2 − Br + B r and so on
Termination : Br+ Br → Br − Br
Polymerisation of ethylene to polyethylene and vinyl monomers to polyvinyl polymers are free radical
nCH2 = CH2 Catalyst →(− CH2 − CH2 −)n
Elimination reactions are formally the reverse of addition reactions and consist in removing the two groups
(Generally, one being a proton) from one or two carbon atoms of a molecule to form an unsaturated linkage or
Elimination reaction is given by those compounds which have a nucleophilic group as leaving group,
⊕ ⊕ ⊕ R R
i.e., X, OH, OR, N 2, N3 , H 3O, N ⊕
Elimination reactions are generally endothermic and take place on heating.
Elimination reactions are classified into two general types,
(I) α- elimination reactions or 1, 1-elimination reactions.
(II) β- elimination reaction or 1, 2-elimination reactions.
(I) α- elimination reactions or 1, 1-elimination reactions : A reaction in which both the groups or
atoms are removed from the same carbon of the molecule is called α- elimination reaction. This reaction is mainly
given by gem dihalides and gem trihalides having at least one α- hydrogen.
CHX3 .. ⊕
Alc.KOH/∆ → CX2 +
CH 2 X 2 .. ⊕
Alc,KOH/∆ → CHX +
CH 3CHI 2 + Zn → CH 3 CH + ZnI 2
Product of the reaction is halocarbenes or dihalocarbenes. Carbenes are key intermediates in a wide
variety of chemical and photochemical reactions.
(II) β- elimination reactions or 1, 2-elimination reactions : Consider the following reactions,
CH 3 − CH 2 − CH 2 − L → CH 3 − CH = CH 2 + H + L
A reaction in which functional group (i.e., leaving group) is removed from α- carbon and other group
(Generally hydrogen atom) from the β- carbon is called β- elimination reaction. In this reaction there is loss of two
σ bonds and gain of one π bond. Product of the reaction is generally less stable than the reactant.
(1) Types of β- elimination reactions : In analogy with substitution reactions, β- elimination reactions are
divided into three types:
(i) E1 (Elimination unimolecular) reaction, (ii) E2 (Elimination bimolecular) reaction and (iii) E1cb (Elimination
unimolecular conjugate base) reaction
(i) E1 (Elimination unimolecular) reaction : Consider the following reaction,
CH 3 CH 3
| Cl C 2 H5 O/ ∆ C
CH 3 CH + C2H5OH + Cl
− C− → 2 =
| CH 3
(a) Reaction velocity depends only on the concentration of the substrate; thus reaction is unimolecular
Rate ∝ [Substrate]
(b) Product formation takes place by formation of carbocation as reaction intermediate (RI).
(c) Since reaction intermediate is carbocation, rearrangement is possible in E1 reaction.
(d) Reaction is carried out in the presence of polar protic solvent.
(e) The E1 reaction occurs in two steps,
CH 3 CH 3 ⊕
Step 1. CH 3 | |δ + - −δ Slowstep → C− CH 3 Cl
C− Cl CH +δ - - CH 3 |
− → 3 − C-- Cl − +
| | CH3
CH 3 CH 3 ( RI )
.. CH 3
B + H − CH 2 − CH 3
C⊕ B - fast → ⊕B
Step 2. − CH 3 → -- -H - - - -CH 2 ---- C − CH 3 H + CH 2 =C
(f) Energy profile diagram for E1 reaction is, TS1 TS2
(ii) E2 (Elimination bimolecular) reaction : Consider the following reaction,
CH 3 − CH 2 − CH 2 − Br Base (B) → CH 3 − CH = CH 2 + ⊕
(a) Reaction velocity depends only on the concentration of the substrate and the base used; thus reaction is
bimolecular reaction. Rate ∝[Substrate] [Base]
(b) Since the reaction is a bimolecular reaction, the product formation will take place by formation of
transition state (TS).
(c) Rearrangement is not take place in E2 reaction but in case of allylic compound rearrangement is possible.
(d) Reaction is carried out in the presence of polar aprotic solvent.
(e) The E1 reaction occurs in one step,
B HH B−δ - - - - H +δ
|| − C |
CH3 − C− C− H Slowstep → CH 3 | H fast → CH3 CH CH 2 BH
H C− − = + = Br
| | TS Br
(f) Energy profile diagram for E2 reaction is, TS
(iii) E1cb (Elimination unimolecular conjugate base) reaction
(a) E1cb mechanism is limited to substrates with substituents which can stabilise the carbanion as reaction
Thus β- carbon should contain strong –I group, e.g., − C −, − NO2, − C ≡ N or other carbanion stabilising
(b) This reaction is given by those compounds, which have poor leaving group, otherwise carbanion will not
(c) β- hydrogen should be highly acidic so that it can easily be removed as proton to give carbanion.
CF3 − CHCl2 C2H5O → CF2 = CCl2 ; C6 H5 − CH2 − CH2 − F C2H5O → C6 H5 − CH = CH2
(d) The E1cb reaction occurs in two step,
Step 1. CF3 − CHCl2
C2H5O → CF3 − C Cl2
Conjugate base of sustrate
which is stabilised by CF3 and Cl
Step 2. F − CF2 Slowstep → CF2 = CCl2
− C Cl2 +F
(2) Orientation in β - elimination reactions : If substrate is unsymmetrical, then this will give more than
one product. Major product of the reaction can be known by two emperical rules.
(i) Saytzeff rule : According to this rule, major product is the most substituted alkene i.e., major product is
obtained by elimination of H from that β- carbon which has the least number of hydrogen. Product of the reaction
in this case is known as Saytzeff product.
CH 3 − CβH2 − − CH 3 Alc.KOH /∆ → CH 3 − C = CH− CH 3
| CH − HCl |
(ii) Hofmann rule : According to this rule, major product is always least substituted alkene i.e., major
product is formed from β- carbon which has maximum number of hydrogen. Product of the reaction in this case is
known as Hofmann product.
CH 3 Br CH 3
| | |
CH 3 C − CH CH 3 Alc.KOH / ∆ → CH 3 − C− CH 2 CH CH 2
− | 2 − CH− − =
CH 3 β2 α CH 3
Note : In E1 reactions, product formation always takes place by Saytzeff rule.
In E1cb reactions, product formation always takes place by Hofmann rule.
In E2 reactions, product formation takes place by Saytzeff as well as Hofmann rule. In almost all E2
reactions product formation take place by Saytzeff rule.
(3) Examples of β - elimination reactions
(i) Dehydrohalogenation is removal of HX from alkyl halides with alcoholic KOH or KNH 2 or OK - ter-Bu
(Potassium tertiary butoxide) and an example of α-β elimination,
e.g., CH 3 − CH 2 X Alc.KOH → H 2 C = CH 2 ; CH3 − CH − CH3 Alc.KOH → CH3CH = CH 2
(− HX) | (− HX) Propene
CH3 − CH2 − CH − CH3 Alc.KOH → CH3 − CH = CH − CH3 + CH3 − CH2 − CH = CH2
| (− HX) 1- Butene (Minor)
2- Butene (Major)
(ii) Dehydration of alcohol is another example of elimination reaction. When acids like conc. H 2SO4 or
H3 PO4 are used as dehydrating agents, the mechanism is E1 . The proton given by acid is taken up by alcohol.
Dehydration is removal of H 2O from alcohols,
e.g., CH 3 − CH 2 − OH Conc. H2SO4 ,170°C → H 2 C = CH 2
(− H 2O)
CH3 − CH2 − CH2 − OH Conc. H2SO4 ,170°C → CH 3 − CH = CH2
(− H 2O)
Note : Dehydration of alcohols is in the order: Tertiary > Secondary > Primary
(3°) (2°) (1°)
2° and 3° alcohol by E1 process and 1° alcohol by E2 process. Alcohols leading to conjugated alkenes
are more easily dehydrated than the alcohols leading to non-conjugated alkenes.
CH 2 = CH − CH − CH 3 is easily dehydrated than CH 3 − CH 2 − CH − CH 3 and so
OH OH OH
(iii) Dehalogenation : It is removal of halogens, e.g., CH 2 − CH 2 + Zn dust in CH3OH,heat → H 2C = CH 2
(-ZnBr2 ) Ethylene
(iv) Dehydrogenation : It is removal of hydrogen, e.g., CH 3 − CH − CH 3 Cu,300°C → CH 3 − C− CH 3
(− H2 )
Isopropyl alcohol Acetone
The reactions, which involve the migration of an atom or group from one site to another within the molecule
(nothing is added from outside and nothing is eliminated) resulting in a new molecular structure, are known as
rearrangement reactions. The new compound is actually the structural isomer of the original one.
It is convenient to divide rearrangement reactions into following types:
(1) Rearrangement or migration to electron deficient atoms (Nucleophilic rearrangement) : Those
rearrangement reactions in which migrating group is nucleophilic and thus migrates to electron deficient centre
which may be carbon, nitrogen and oxygen.
Y B: B
|| − Y→ | | ||
C − C− C− C− → − C− C−
|| ⊕ ||
X: X X
X= Nucleophilic species, Y = Electronegative group, B = Another nucleophile.
(i) Pinacol – pinacolone rearrangement
CH3 CH3 O CH3
|| || |
CH3 − C — C— CH 3 ∆→ CH C− C— CH 3
| 30% H 2SO4 3 −
OH | |
(ii) Wagner – Meerwein rearrangement
CH3 CH3 CH3
| | |
CH 3 C CH OH H2SO4 → CH 3 CH − CH3 +
− − 2 − C = CH2 = C − CH2 − CH3
| 2−Methyl-butene -1
CH3 2−Methyl-butene -2
(iii) Benzilic acid rearrangement
OO C6 H5 OH
NaOH /KOH →
C6 H5 || || C6 H5 C
Benzil C6 H5
Bezilic acid anion
(iv) Wolf rearrangement : CH3 − COOH + CH2 N2 → CH3 − CH2 − COOH
Acetic acid diazo methan Propinoic acid
(v) Allylic rearrangement
CH 3 CH = CH 2 H+ → CH 3 − = CH − CH 2OH
OH 3- Methyl-but-2-ene-1-ol
(vi) Sommelet – Hauser rearrangement
Benzyl quaternary ammonium salt O-Substituted benzyl tertiary amine
(vii) Hofmann rearrangement : RCONH2 + Br2 + 4KOH → RNH2 + 2KBr + K2CO3 + 2H2O
(viii) Curtius rearrangement : RCON3 ∆ → RNCO+ N2
(ix) Schimdt rearrangement : RCOOH + HN3 H2SO4 → R − NH2 + CO2 + N2
(x)Baeyer Villiger reaction : CH 3 − CO − CH 3 + CH 3 − COOOH H2SO4 → CH 3 − COO − CH 3 + H 3CCOOH
(2) Rearrangement or migration to electron rich atoms (Electrophilic rearrangement) : Those
rearrangement reactions in which migrating group is electrophile and thus migrates to electron rich centre.
(i) Stevens rearrangement :
(CH 3 )2 N − CH 2 − COC6 H5 → (CH 3 ) 2 N − CH − COC6 H5
| (− H 2O) |
CH2C6H5 CH2 −C6 H5
Keto-quaternary ammonium salt Amino keto
C6 H5 C6 H5
(ii) Witting rearrangement :
C = O + H2C = P(C6H5)3 → C = CH2 + (C6H5)3 P = O
C6 H5 Triphenyl phosphine oxide
(iii) Favorskii rearrangement : CH3 − CO − CH 2 − Cl + O C2 H5 → CH 3 − CH 2 − COO − C2 H5 + Cl
Cl C2H5ONa →
(3) Rearrangement or migration to free radical species (Free radical rearrangement) : Those
rearrangement reactions in which the migrating group moves to a free radical centre. Free radical rearrangements
are comparatively rare.
(4) Aromatic rearrangement : Those rearrangement reactions in which the migrating group moves to
aromatic nucleus. Aromatic compounds of the type (I) undergo rearrangements in the manner mentioned below,
X–Y X–H X–H
The element X from which group Y migrater may be nitrogen or oxygen.
(i) Orton rearrangement (ii) Claisen rearrangement
Cl COCH3 H COCH3 H COCH3 O.CH2–CH= CH2 OH
N N N 200°C → CH2–CH= CH2
dil. HCl → Cl
Cl Phenyl allyl ether o- Allyl phenol
N- Chloroacetanilide o- Chloroacetanilide p- Chloroacetanilide
(iii) Fries rearrangement
O OH OH
Anhy. AlCl3 →
Phenylacetate (Ester) o- and p- hydoxy acetopheCnoOneCH3
Organic compounds having same molecular formula but differing from each other at least in same physical or
chemical properties or both are known as isomers (Berzelius) and the phenomenon is known as isomerism.
Ethyl alcohol (C2H6O) Dimethyl ether (C2H6O)
CH3 − CH2 − OH CH3 − O− CH3
It is liquid. It is a gas.
Its boiling point is 78°C Its boiling point is - 24°C.
It reacts vigorously with sodium and evolves hydrogen. It does not react with sodium.
It reacts with HI and forms ethyl iodide, C2 H5 I . It reacts with HI and forms methyl iodide, CH3I .
The difference in properties of isomers is due to the difference in the relative arrangements of various atoms
or groups present in their molecules. Isomerism can be classified as follows:
Constitutional or structural isomerism Configurational or stereo isomerism
Without referring to space, the isomers differ in The isomerism arises due to different arrangement of atoms or
the arrangement of atoms within the molecule is groups in space. It deals with the structure of molecules in
called structural isomerism. Thus structural three dimensions. Thus stereoisomers have:
• Same molecular formula
• Same molecular formula
• Same empirical formula
• Same empirical formula
• Same molecular weight
• Same molecular weight
• Different properties
• Different properties
• Different orientation of atoms or molecules in space
• Different structural formula
Chain Position Ring chain Functional Meta Tauto - Geometrical Optical Conformational
isomerism isomerism isomerism isomerism merism merism isomerism isomerism isomerism
Constitutional or structural isomerism.
(1) Chain, nuclear or skeleton isomerism : This type of isomerism is arises due to the difference in the
nature of the carbon chain (i.e., straight or branched) which forms the nucleus of the molecule.
Examples : (i) C4H10 : CH 3 − CH 2 − CH 2 − CH 3 , CH 3 − CH − CH 3
(ii) C5H12 : (Three) CH 3 − CH 2 − CH 2 − CH 2 − CH 3 , CH 3 C H CH 2 − CH 3 , CH 3 C− CH
− − − 3
n−Pentane | |
Isopentane Neopen tan e
(iii) C4H8 : CH3 − CH2 − CH = CH2 , CH 3 − C = CH 2
α −butylene |
(iv) C5H8 : HC ≡ C − CH 2 − CH 2 − CH 3 , HC ≡ C − CH 2 − CH 3
2−Methyl - 1 - butyne
(v) C4H7N : 4 3 2 1 CH 3 23
C H− C H3
C H3 − CH2 − CH2 −CN −
Butane nitrile 1CN
2−Methyl propane nitrile
Note : Except alkynes chain isomerism is observed when the number of carbon atoms is four or
more than four.
Chain isomers differ in the nature of carbon chain, i.e., in the length of carbon chain.
The isomers showing chain isomerism belong to the same homologous series, i.e., functional group,
class of the compound (Cyclic or open) remains unchanged.
Chain and position isomerism cannot be possible together between two isomeric compounds. If two
compounds are chain isomers then these two will not be positional isomers.
(2) Position isomerism : It is due to the difference in the position of the substiuent atom or group or an
unsaturated linkage in the same carbon chain.
(i) C4 H10 O : CH 3 C H CH − OH , CH 3 −C CH 3
− − 2 | −
Isobutylalcohol t−Butyl alcohol
(ii) C3 H6 Cl2 : CH 3 − CCl2 − CH 3 , CH 3 − CH 2 − CH − Cl2 , CH 3 − C H − C H 2 , C H 2 − CH 2 − C H 2
2,2−Dichloro propane, 1,1−Dichloro propane
| | | |
1,2−Dichloro propane [Gem-two, vic-one and α , ω -one]
(iii) C4 H8 : CH 3 − CH 2 − CH = CH 2 , CH 3 − CH = CH − CH 3
(iv) C4 H6 : CH 3 − CH 2 − C ≡ CH , CH 3 − C ≡ C − CH 3 , CH 2 = C = CH − CH 3 , CH2 = CH − CH = CH2
1−Butyne 2−Butyne 1,2−Butadiene 1,3−Butadiene
(v) C3 H6 O2 : CH 3 − C H− CHO , C H 2 − CH 2 − CHO
(vi) C7 H7 NO2 (Three aromatic) :
CH3 CH3 CH3
p - Nitrotoluene
o - Nitrotoluene m - Nitrotoluene
(vii) C8 H10 (Three aromatic) : CH3
CH3 CH3 p - Xylene
o - Xylene m - Xylene
(viii) C6 H3 (OH)3 (Three aromatic) : OH
OH OH OH
1,2,4 - Trihydroxybenzene Phloroglucinol
(ix) C6 H3 X2Y (Six aromatic) : X X X X
XX X Y
XX Y Y X
Y X X X X
Y Y Y ZY
(x) C6 H3 XYZ (Ten aromatic) :
XX X Z
Y Y Y Z Y
X X X
(xi) C6 H14 : CH 3 − C H − CH 2 − CH2 − CH3 , CH 3 − CH 2 − C H − CH 2 − CH 3
2− Methylpentane 3− Methylpentane
(xii) C4 H11 N : CH3 − NH − CH2 − CH2 − CH3 CH 3 − NH − C H − CH 3
N −Methyl-1- propaneamine
Note : Aldehydes, carboxylic acids (and their derivatives) and cyanides do not show position
Monosubstituted alicylic compounds and aromatic compounds do not show position isomerism.
Structural isomers which differ in the position of the functional group are called regiomers. For
example, (i) CH 3 − CH 2 − CH 2 − OH (ii) CH 3 − CH − CH 3
(3) Functional isomerism : This type of isomerism is due to difference in the nature of functional group
present in the isomers. The following pairs of compounds always form functional isomers with each other.
(i) Alcohols and ethers (Cn H2n+2O) H 3C − O − CH 3
C2H6O : CH 3 − CH 2 − OH ; Dimethyl ether
C3H8O : CH 3 − CH 2 − CH 2 − OH ; C2 H5 − O − CH 3
n − propyl alcohol Ethyl methyl ether
C4H10O : CH3 − CH2 − CH2 − CH2 − OH ; C2H5 − O − C2H5
n−Butyl alcohol Diethyl ether
(ii) Aldehydes, ketones and unsaturated alcohols …etc. (Cn H2nO)
CH2 − CH − CH3 ; CH2 = CH − CH2OH
C3H6O : CH 3 − CH 2 − CHO ; CH 3 − C− CH 3 ; Allyl alcohol
Propionaldehyde Acetone O
(iii) Acids, esters and hydroxy carbonyl compounds …etc. (Cn H2nO2)
C2H4O2 : CH3COOH ; HCOOCH3
Acetic acid Methyl formate
C3H6O2 : CH3 − CH2 − COOH ; CH3COOCH3 ; CH C HCHO ; CH3 − C− CH2 − OH
Propionic acid Methyl acetate 3 1− Hydroxy propan- 2-one
2− Hydroxy propanal
(iv) Alkynes and alkadienes (Cn H2n-2)
C4H6 : CH3 − CH2 − C ≡ CH ; H2C = CH − CH = CH2 ; CH3 − C ≡ C − CH3 ; H2C = C = CH − CH3
1− Butyne 1,3− Butadiene 2 − Butyne 1,2− Butadiene
(v) Cyanides and isocyanides ( − CN and − NC )
C2H3N : CH3CN ; CH3 NC
Methyl cyanide Methyle isocyanide
(vi) Nitro alkanes and alkyl nitrites ( − NO2 and − O − N = O )
C2H5NO2 : C2 H5 − N ; C2H5 − O − N = O
O Ethyl nitrite
(vii) Amines (Primary, secondary and tertiary)
C3H9N : CH 3 − CH 2 − CH 2 − NH 2 ; CH3 − CH2 − N
Propan -1- amine
N −Methyl ethanamine
CH3 − CH − CH3 ; CH3 − N
NH2 N,N −Dimethyl methanamine
Propan - 2- amine
(viii) Alcohols and phenols
C7 H8 O ;
(ix) Oximes and amides
C2H5NO : CH3 − CH = NOH O
(x) Thio alcohols and thio ethers
; CH3 − C− NH2
C2H6S : C2H5SH ; CH3 − S − CH3
Ethyl thioalcohol Dimethyl thioether
(4) Ring-chain isomerism : This type of isomerism is due to different modes of linking of carbon atoms, i.e.,
the isomers possess either open chain or closed chain sturctures.
(i) C3H6 : CH3 − CH = CH2 ; H2C − CH2
H 2C — CH 2 CH3
(ii) C4H8 : CH 3 − CH 2 − CH = CH 2 ; | | ; H 2C − CH 2
1− Butene Methyl cyclopropane
H 2C — CH 2
(iii) C6H12 : H2C| C| H2 ; CH2 − CH2 CHCH3 ; CH3CH2CH2CH2CH = CH2
H2C CH2 1−Hexene
C H 2 − CH 2
Note : Ring – chain isomers are always functional isomers.
(5) Metamerism : This type of isomerism is due to the difference in the nature of alkyl groups attached to the
polyvalent atoms or functional group. Metamers belong to the same homologous series. Compounds like ethers,
thio-ethers ketones, secondary amines, etc. show metamerism.
(i) C4H10O : C2 H5 − O − CH 3 ; C3 H7 − O − CH3
Diethyl ether Methyl propyl ethers
(ii) C5H10O : C2 H5 − CO − C2 H5 ; C3 H7 − CO − CH 3
Diethyl ketone Methyl propyl ketone
(iii) C4H11N : C2 H5 − NH − C2 H5 ; C3 H7 − NH − CH 3
Diethyl amine Methyl propyl amine
(iv) C5H13N : C3 H7 − N CH 3 ; C2H5 − N C2 H 5
CH 3 CH 3
Dimethyl propyl amine Diethyl methyl amine
(v) C6H15N : C3 H7 − NH − C3 H7 ; C2 H5 − NH − C4 H9
Dipropyl amine Ethyl butyl amine
Note : If same polyvalent functional group is there in two or more organic compounds, then never
write chain or position isomerism, it will be metamerism e.g.,
(a) CH3 − C− CH2 − CH2 − CH3 ; CH3CH 2 − C− CH2CH3 are metamers and not position isomers.
(Pentan − 2 − one) (Pentan − 3 − one)
(b) CH3 − C− CH2CH2CH3 ; CH3 − C− C H − CH3 are metamers and not chain isomers.
|| || |
(Pentan − 2 − one)
Alkenes does not show metamerism.
(i) The type of isomerism in which a substance exist in two readily interconvertible different structures leading
to dynamic equilibrium is known as tautomerism and the different forms are called tautomers (or tautomerides).
The term tautomerism (Greek: tauto = same; meros = parts) was used by Laar in 1885 to describe the
phenomenon of a substance reacting chemically according to two possible structures.
(ii) It is caused by the wandering of hydrogen atom between two polyvalent atoms. It is also known as
Desmotropism (Desmos = bond and tropos = turn). If the hydrogen atom oscillates between two polyvalent
atoms linked together, the system is a dyad and if the hydrogen atom travels from first to third in a chain, the
system is a triad.
(a) Dyad system : Hydrocyanic acid is an example of dyad system in which hydrogen atom oscillates between
carbon and nitrogen atoms. H − C ≡ N ⇌ C = N − H
(b) Triad system
Keto-enol system : Polyvalent atoms are oxygen and two carbon atoms.
|| | |
− C− C − C = C−
| ⇌ |
Acetoacetic ester (Ethyl acetoacetate) : CH 3 − C− CH 2COOC2 H5 ⇌ CH3 − C = CHCOOC2H5
Keto form Enol form
Acetoacetic ester gives certain reactions showing the presence of keto group (Reactions with
HCN, H 2 NOH, H 2 NNHC6 H5 , etc.) and certain reactions showing the presence of enolic group (Reactions with
Na, CH3COCl, NH3 , PCl5 , Br2 water and colour with neutral FeCl3 , etc.).
Acetyl acetone : CH 3 − C− CH 2COCH3 CH3 − C = CHCOCH3
Keto form Enol form
− C− CH 3 = C− CH 2
Keto form Enol form
Enol form Keto form
OO HO OH
Keto form Enol form
Enolisation is in order
CH3COCH3 < CH3COCH2COOC2H5 < C6 H5COCH2COOC2H5 < CH3COCH2COCH3 < CH3COCH2CHO
O H⊕ OH OH
|| CH3 C H − R −H⊕ → CH3 − − R
− C− C = CH
Acid catalysed conversion CH 3 − C− CH 2 − R |
Keto ⊕ (Enol)
Base catalysed conversion
OH || | |
CH 3 − C− CH 2 − R – H2O CH3 − C H − R → CH3 − = CH − R H2O → CH 3 − − R
Keto C− C −OH C = CH
Triad system containing nitrogen
Nitrous acid : H − O − N = O O
Nitroethane : CH3 − CH2 N O CH 3CH = N O
Nitro form Acid form
(iii) Characteristics of tautomerism
(a) Tautomerism (cationotropy) is caused by the oscillation of hydrogen atom between two polyvalent atoms
present in the molecule. The change is accompanied by the necessary rearrangement of single and double bonds.
(b) It is a reversible intramolecular change.
(c) The tautomeric forms remain in dynamic equilibrium. Hence, their separation is a bit difficult. Although
their separation can be done by special methods, yet they form a separate series of stable derivatives.
(d) The two tautomeric forms differ in their stability. The less stable form is called the labile form. The relative
proportion of two forms varies from compound to compound and also with temperature, solvent etc. The change of
one form into another is also catalysed by acids and bases.
(e) Tautomers are in dynamic equilibrium with each other and interconvertible (⇌).
(f) Two tautomers have different functional groups.
(g) Tautomerism has no effect on bond length.
(h) Tautomerism has no contribution in stabilising the molecule and does not lower its energy.
(i) Tautomerism may occur in planar or nonplanar molecules.
Note : Keto=enol tautomerism is exhibited only by such aldehydes and ketones which contain at
least one α -hydrogen. For example CH3CHO,CH3CH2CHO,CH3COCH2COCH3 .
Tautomerism is not possible in benzaldehyde (C6 H 5 CHO), benzophenone (C6 H 5 COC6 H 5 ) , tri
methyl acetaldehyde, (CH3 )3 C − CHO and chloral CCl3 − CHO as they do not carry α − H .
Number of structural isomers
Molecular formula Number of isomers
C4 H10 Two
C5 H12 Three
C6 H14 Five
C7 H16 Nine
C8 H18 Eighteen
C9 H 20 Thirty five
C10 H 22 Seventy five
Alkenes and cycloalkanes
C3 H6 Two (One alkene + one cycloalkane)
C4 H8 Six (Four alkene + 2 - cycloalkane)
Nine (Five alkenes + 4 – cycloalkanes)
C3 H 4
C4 H6 Six
C3H7 X Two
C4 H9 X Four
C5 H11 X Eight
C2H4 X2 Two
C3H6 X2 Four
C4 H8 X2 Nine
C5 H10 X2 Twenty one
Alcohols and ethers
C2H6O Two (One alcohol and one ether)
C3 H 8 O Three (Tow alcohols and one ether)
C4 H10O Seven (Four alcohols and three ethers)
C5 H12O Fourteen (Eight alcohols and six ethers)
Aldehydes and ketones
C3 H 6 O Two (One aldehyde and one ketone)
C4 H8O Three (Two aldehydes and one ketone)
C5 H10O Three (Four aldehydes and three ketone)
Monocarboxylic acids and esters
C2 H 4 O2 Two (One acid and one ester)
C3 H6O2 Three (One acid and two esters)
C4 H8O2 Six (Two acids and four esters)
C5 H10O2 Thirteen (Four acids and nine esters)
C2H7 N Two (One 1°-amine and one 2°-amine)
C3H9 N Four (Two 1°-amines, one 2°-amine and one 3°-amine)
C4 H11 N Eight (Four 1°-amines, three 2°-amines and one 3°-
C8 H10 Four
C9 H12 Nine
C7 H8O Five
Geometrical or cis-trans isomerism.
The compounds which have same molecular formula but differ in properties due to different spatial
arrangement of atoms or groups in space are known as geometrical isomers and the phenomenon is known as
geometrical isomerism. The isomer in which same groups or atoms are on the same side is known as cis form and
the isomer in which same groups or atoms are on the opposite side is called trans-isomer.
H − C− COOH H − C− COOH H 3 C − C− COOH H 3 C − C− COOH
|| || || ||
H − C − COOH HOOC−C−H H − C − COOH HOOC − C − H
Maleic acid (cis) Fumaric acid (trans) Citraconic acid (cis-isomer) Mesaconic acid (trnas−isomer)
H − C− Cl H − C− Cl H 3C − C− H H3C − C− H
|| || || ||
H − C − Cl Cl − C − H H3C − C − H H − C − CH3
cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene trans-Butene- 2
(1) Conditions for geometrical isomerism : Compound will show geometrical iosomerism if it fulfils the
following two conditions
(i) There should be frozen rotation about two adjacent atoms in the molecule.
(a) C = C frozen rotation about carbon, carbon double bond in alkenes.
(b) frozen rotation about carbon, carbon single bond in cycloalkanes.
(c) C = N − frozen rotation about carbon, nitrogen double bond in oxime and imine.
(ii) Both substituents on each carbon should be different about which rotation is frozen.
If these two conditions are fulfilled, then compound will show geometrical isomerism.
Note : The compounds of the following type will not show geometrical isomerism.
a − C− a x − C− a a − C− a
|| || ||
x−C−y a−C−a x−C−x
Note the similar atoms (Groups) on one or both of the carbon atoms.
(2) Distinction between cis- and trans- isomers
(i) By cyclization method : Generally, the cis-isomer (e.g. maleic acid) cyclises on heating to from the
corresponding anhydride while the trans-isomer does not form its anhydride at all.
H − C− COOH Heat → H − C− CO
H − C − COOH H − C − CO
Note : Note that the two reacting groups (-COOH) are near to each other.
H − C− COOH Heat → No anhydride
HOOC − C − H
Fumaric acid (trans)
Note : Note that the two reacting groups (-COOH) are quite apart from each other, hence
cyclisation is not possible.
(ii) By hydroxylation (Oxidation by means of KMnO4 , OsO4 or H2O2 in presence of OsO4 ) : Oxidation
(Hydroxylation) of alkenes by means of these reagents proceeds in the cis-manner. Thus the two geometrical
isomers of an alkene leads to different products by these reagents. For example,
H − C − COOH KMnO4 → H OH COOH
H − H OH COOH
Maleic acid (cis) meso −Tartaric acid
H − C − COOH KMnO4 → H OH COOH + HOOC OH H
|| HOOC OH H H OH COOH
HOOC − C− H
(+)−Tartaric acid (−)−Tartaric acid
Fumaric acid (trans)
(iii) By studying their dipole moments : The cis-isomer of a symmetrical alkene (Alkenes in which both
the carbon atoms have similar groups) has a definite dipole moment, while the trans-isomer has either zero dipole
moment or less dipole moment than the cis-isomer. For example, 1,2-dichloroethylene and butene-2.
H − C− Cl H − C− Cl H − C− CH 3 H − C− CH 3
|| || || ||
H −C−CH3 CH3 −C− H
H −C−Cl Cl−C−H cis− Butane−2 trans− Butane−2
cis− Dichloroethylene trans− Dichloroethylene
(µ =1.9 D) (µ =0.0 D)
In trans-isomer of the symmetrical alkenes, the effect produced in one half of the molecule is cancelled by that
in the other half of the molecule.
In case of unsymmetrical alkenes, the cis-isomer has higher dipole moment than the corresponding trans-
For Example, H 3 C − C− Cl CH 3 − C− Cl
CH3CH2 −C−Cl Cl −C−CH 2CH3
cis−2,3−Dichloropentene−2(High dipole moment) trans−2,3−Dichloropentene−2(Less dipole moment)
Similar is the case with hexene-2.
H3C C=C CH2CH2 − CH3 H C=C CH2CH2 − CH3
H H CH3 H
cis −Hexene− 2(more polar) trans −Hexene− 2(Less polar)
Note : Note that the − CH2CH2 − CH3 has more +I effect than the − CH3 group, hence dipole
moment of the two polar bonds do not cancel each other in the trans isomer. Thus trans-isomer is also polar, but
less than the corresponding cis-isomer.
(iv) By studying other physical properties: (a) The cis-isomer of a compound has higher boiling point
due to higher polarity, higher density and higher refractive index than the corresponding trans-isomer (Auwers-skita
CH 3 − C− H CH 3 − C− H H − C− Cl H − C− Cl
|| || ||
|| H −C−CH3
CH3− C−H H − C − Cl Cl − C − H
cis − 2− Butene trans − 2Butene
4°C 1°C cis −1, 2− Dichloroethene trans −1, 2− Dichloroethene
b. p −139°C −106°C 60°C 48°C
m. p −80°C −50°C
(b) The trans-isomer has higher melting point than the cis-isomer due to symmetrical nature and more close
packing of the trans-isomer.
(v) Stability : Trans-isomer is more stable than cis-isomer due to steric hindrance.
Note : Terminal alkenes such as propene, 1-butene and 2-methyl propene do not show geometrical
Cis-trans isomers are configurational isomers but not mirror images, hence cis and trans isomers are
Non-terminal alkenes with the same atoms or groups either on one or both the carbon atoms of the
double bond such as 2-methyl-2-butene, 2,3-dimethyl –2 – butene etc. do not show geometrical
General organic chemistry
(3) E and Z system of nomenclature : ‘Cis’ and ‘Trans’ designations cannot be used if four different
atoms or groups are attached to the carbon atoms of a double bond.
a C=C d
In such cases, E and Z system of nomenclature is used. This system is based on a priority system developed
by Cahn, Ingold and Prelog.
In this system, the two atoms or groups attached to each of the doubly bonded carbon are put in order of
precedence on the basis of sequence rules.
The symbol ‘E’ is assigned to an isomer in which the atoms or groups of higher precedence are on the
opposite side (E from German word Entgegen = across or opposite).
The symbol ‘Z’ is assigned to an isomer in which the atoms or groups of higher precedence are on the same
side (Z from German word, Zusammen = together).
1 C=C 2 1 C=C 1
21 Z −isomer
E − isomer
Note:1 signifies higher precedence and 2 signifies lower precedence. In most of the cases ‘Z’ corresponds
to cis-form and ‘E’ to trans-form. However, there are many exceptions.
The following rules are followed for deciding the precedence order of the atoms or groups;
(i) Higher priority is assigned to the atoms of higher atomic number. For example, the order of precedence in
the following atoms, H,Cl, I, Br is : I (at. no. 53)> Br (at. no. 35)>Cl (at. no. 17)>H (at. no. 1).
(ii) If isotopes of the same element are attached, the isotope with higher mass number is given higher order of
( ) ( )precedence. For example, deuterium
2 D is assigned higher priority in comparison to hydrogen 1 H .
(iii) In the groups, the order of precedence is also decided on the basis of atomic number of fist atom of the
group. For example, in the following set, − Cl,−OH,−COOH,−NH − CH3,−SO3H .
The order of the precedence is : − Cl > − S O3 H >− OH > − N HCH3 > − C OOH
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
( at.no17) (at.no.16) (at.no.8) (at.no.7) (at.no. 6)
When the order of precedence of the groups cannot be settled on the first atom, the second atom or the
subsequent atoms in the groups are considered. For example, in the set − CH2 − CH3,−CH3,−COOH, the order
cannot be decided on the basis of first atom as it is same in all the groups. However, in − CH2 − CH3, the second
atom is carbon, in − CH3, the second atom is hydrogen while in − COOH, the second atom is oxygen. Hence, the
order of precedence is : − C O OH > −CH2 − C H3 > − C H3
(at.no.8) (at.no.6) ↓
(iv) A doubly or triply bonded atom is considered equivalent to two or three such atoms. For example,
The group C = O is equal to N
C− O and the group − C ≡ N is equal to − C− N .
(4) Number of geometrical isomers in polynes
(i) When compound has n double bonds and ends of a polyene are different, the number of geometrical
isomers = 2n
C6 H5 − CH = CH − CH = CH − CH = CH − CH = CH − Cl
The given compound has four double bonds and the two ends are different (One is C6 H5 and other is Cl).
Therefore, number of geometrical isomers = 2n = 24 = 16 .
(ii) When the ends of polyene are same.