The Reaction Scheme is Central to Organic Chemistry
In the last section (Organic Chemistry Simplified Part 4), we discussed a way to classify reagents in order to make it easier to remember the endless stream of reagents seen in organic chemistry. Now, we will transition into dissecting the reaction scheme.
I discovered that there is a reliable pattern to the way chemists write them. Let’s look at the following examples:
This first scenario has one thing above the arrow and one thing below the arrow. The chemist will typically write what is most important…FIRST! Translated, what is above the arrow is what you need pay attention to (Above = important reagent; Below = Solvent).
Let’s look at another way you might see a reaction scheme presented on an exam:
In this case, we have more than one thing above and below the arrow; however, the same rule applies. The chemist will typically write what is most important…FIRST! This reaction means there are two individual steps we need to consider. What we will need to in this scenario is look at what comes first above the arrow and what comes first below the arrow.
So, what if we have more than one thing above and below the arrows with no number sequence?
Same rules apply….what is written FIRST is most important.
The above example is more than likely much more complex that you will see on your exam; however, it is much easier to figure out than what you might first think. I will discuss in the next section (Organic Chemistry Simplified Part 6) how to put all this information together to help you solve questions on an exam or homework.
*NOTE: The reaction schemes that I have put together in this post do not have the complete list of reagents for some examples. I did this to show that the amount of information given can vary; however, the rule still applies…FIRST REAGENT. I will go over these differences in the next post to further explain.