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The non-hydrogen atoms of functional groups are always associated with each other and with the rest of the molecule by covalent bonds. When the group of atoms is associated with the rest of the molecule primarily by ionic forces, the group is referred to more properly as a polyatomic ion or complex ion. And all of these are called radicals, by a meaning of the term radical that predates the free radical.
Functional groups are attached to the carbon backbone of organic molecules. They determine the characteristics and chemical reactivity of molecules. Functional groups are far less stable than the carbon backbone and are likely to participate in chemical reactions.
Additional recommended knowledge
Table of common functional groups
The following is a list of common functional groups. In the formulas, the symbols R and R' usually denote an attached hydrogen, or a hydrocarbon side chain of any length, but may sometimes refer to any group of atoms.
Functional groups that vary based upon the number and order of π bonds impart different chemistry. Each listing below contains C-H bonds, but each one differs in type (and scope) of reactivity.
Groups containing halogens
Haloalkanes are a class of molecule that is defined by a carbon-halogen bond. This bond can be relatively weak (in the case of an iodoalkane) or quite stable (as in the case of a fluoroalkane). In general, with the exception of fluorinated compounds, haloalkanes readily undergo nucleophilic substitution reactions or elimination reactions. The substitution on the carbon, the acidity of an adjacent proton, the solvent conditions, etc. all can influence the outcome of the reactivity.
Groups containing oxygen
Compounds that contain C-O bonds each possess differing reactivity based upon the location and hybridization of the C-O bond, owing to the electron-withdrawing effect of sp² hybridized oxygen and the donating effects of sp³ hybridized oxygen.
Groups containing nitrogen
Compounds that contain Nitrogen in this category may contain C-O bonds, such as in the case of amides.
Groups containing phosphorus and sulfur
Compounds that contain sulfur and phosphorus exhibit unique chemistry due to their ability to form more bonds than nitrogen and oxygen, their lighter analogues on the periodic table.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Functional_group". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|