Characteristics of Isomers

Characteristics of Isomers

Characteristics of Isomers

Isomers have the same chemical and molecular formulas, but they have different structural formulas. Basically, they have the same chemical composition, they’re just structured different ways. They’re made up of the same chemical and molecular formulas, just these chemical and molecular formulas are structured in different ways in these isomers.

Now because of their differences in the structures, and therefore their electronic configurations and bindings, isomers exhibit different physical and chemical properties. Now that leads us to three points about isomers–they’re the three characteristics of isomers that you need to know.

The first one is isomers occur in organic compounds that have more than 3 carbon atoms–you need to realize the word “more” and “3” right here. That leads us to the second point: organic compounds with 4 carbon atoms have 2 isomers, those with 5 carbon atoms have 3 isomers, and those with 6 carbon atoms have 4 isomers, etc.

Notice we start with 4 carbon atoms, because isomers must have more than 3. With 4 carbon atoms that gives us 2 different isomers, but as we increase the amount of carbon atoms we increase (the possibilities, or we increase) the isomers because we have more possibilities of structure.

Finally, we come to the third point which as the number of carbon atoms increase, the ways in which the atoms can be arranged can become very complex. This makes sense because as you have more carbon atoms, you have more possibilities as far as you can arrange them.

When you only have 4 carbon atoms, you don’t have a lot of different possibilities, but when you start having 5, 6, or 7 carbon atoms, you begin to have more possibilities, which makes these structures more complex. For example, you now have the possibility of straight chains with branches, or branches with sub-branches–so that’s increasing the complexity of these isomers.

If you had an organic compound that had 10 carbon atoms it’s going to have 75 isomers, (because you have so many carbon atoms in that case you have so many different possibilities) because of the possibilities of straight chains with branches, and branches with sub-branches, that’s why you can have 75 isomers with just 10 carbon atoms.



by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: June 12, 2019