What are the Basics of Organic Acids?

Basics of Organic Acids

                                                       Basics of Organic Acids

Organic acids are made up of organic compounds that have this functional group right here:

One carbon, two oxygen atoms, and one hydrogen atom.

So this functional group, we can also call a carboxyl group. And so because we call that the carboxyl group, we call organic acids carboxylic acids.

So I hope you’re following me that this function group is called a carboxyl group, and so since organic acids are made up of these functional groups which are called carboxyl groups, we’re just going to call organic acids carboxylic acids.

Now, the bonds in a carboxyl group are such that the carbon has a double bond to oxygen and a single bond to the hydroxyl group which is oxygen and hydrogen. So it looks something like this: carbon with a double bond to oxygen, with a single bond to the hydroxyl group right there.

Now the simplest carboxyl group is methanoic acid because it only has one carbon atom. So we could also call that formic acid. Now the next simplest is ethanoic acid, which has two carbon atoms, which you see here and here, and so we can also call that acetic acid. So notice the prefixes here for both of the acids, meth and eth. Meth is the prefix for one, and eth is the prefix for two. So that’s why formic acid has one carbon atom and acetic acid has two carbon atoms.

Now, the general formula for a carboxylic acid looks like this: r to the carboxyl group.

Just like that. And so r represents here, r could represent methyl, which looks like that, or ethyl, which has two carbon atoms and five hydrogen atoms. So basically what this r is representing is this or this or something else, so it’s showing that this right here is tacked onto the front of the carboxyl group.

Now the simplest carboxyl group is just one hydrogen atom, so in that case it looks like that, and so when we write this carboxylic acid like this, the r here is just simply representing that one hydrogen atom. So that’s a look at the basics of organic acids.


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Last updated: 05/30/2018


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