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Functional groups are groups of atoms with specific chemical properties that occur within organic molecules and are sometimes denoted as “R”. Functional groups can “functionalize” a compound by enabling it to adopt different physical and chemical properties.

Types of Advanced Functional Groups

The table below summarizes some of the major functional groups in organic chemistry.

Class of Organic Compounds Skeletal Structures of Compounds with Functional Groups in Red Names of Compounds
Aromatic hydrocarbon Figure1 Benzene
Phenol Figure2 Phenol (Hydroxybenzene)
Aldehyde Figure3 Ethanal (Acetaldehyde)
Ketone Figure4 Acetone
Acid or acyl chloride Figure5 Acetyl chloride
Carboxylic acid Figure6 Ethanoic acid (Acetic acid)
Ester Figure7 Ethyl acetate
Amine Figure8 Ethylamine
Amide Figure9 Acetamide
Nitrile Figure10 Acetonitrile
Phosphate Figure11 Methyl dihydrogen phosphate

This text is adapted from Openstax, Chemistry 2e, Section20.2: Alcohols and EthersandSection 20.3: Aldehydes, Ketones, Carboxylic Acids, and Esters.

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