The Street Chemist - Part 17

Organic acids are hydrocarbon derivatives, therefore, they have carbon in the compound, and the name will begin with the prefix indicating the number of carbons.Organic acids are the final hydrocarbon derivative functional group. Organic acids are...


Organic acids are hydrocarbon derivatives, therefore, they have carbon in the compound, and the name will begin with the prefix indicating the number of carbons.Organic acids are the final hydrocarbon derivative functional group. Organic acids are hydrocarbon derivatives, therefore, they have carbon in the compound, and the name will begin with the prefix indicating the number of carbons. For example, the prefix for a one-carbon compound with the organic acids is "form", so a one-carbon acid is called formic acid; a two-carbon acid is acetic acid; a three-carbon acid is propionic acid, etc. Organic acids are corrosive, may polymerize, and some may burn.

Organic acids are "super-duper" polar materials; they are the most polar of the hydrocarbon derivatives. Organic acids have hydrogen bonding and a carbonyl that gives them a double dose of polarity. The functional group is represented by a carbon, two oxygen atoms, and hydrogen. The general formula is R-C-O-O-H. One radical is attached to the carbon of the functional group. Organic acids use the alternate prefix for one- and two-carbon compounds. When naming them, all of the carbons, including the one in the functional group, are counted to determine the hydrocarbon prefix name. To represent an acid, "ic" is added to the hydrocarbon prefix and the name ends in acid, e.g., a one-carbon acid uses the alternate prefix name "form"; "ic" is added to "form", making it formic, and acid is added to the end: formic acid. A two-carbon acid uses the alternate name for two carbons, which is "acet", plus "ic", and ends with acid: acetic acid. Naming three- and four-carbon acids reverts back to the normal prefixes for three- and four-carbon radicals with some minor alterations to make the names flow more smoothly. For example, a three-carbon acid uses the prefix "prop", indicating three carbons, the letters "ion" are then added to make the name flow smoothly, the ending "ic" is added to the radical and the word acid for the compound name: propionic acid. A four-carbon organic acid begins with the radical prefix "but", the filler letters "yr" are attached, the radical ends with "ic", acid is added and the name for a four-carbon organic acid is butyric acid.

It is also possible to add double-bonded radicals to the organic acid functional group. For example, when the vinyl radical is attached to the carbon in the functional group, a three-carbon double-bonded radical is created. The acryl radical is used for three carbons with a double bond, the ending "ic" is added to the radical, and the word acid to the end. The compound formed is acrylic acid. The double bond between the carbons can come apart in a polymerization reaction. Generally, materials that have double bonds are reactive in some manner. If polymerization occurs inside a container, an explosion may occur that can produce heat, light, fragments, and a shock wave.

Acetic acid, CH3COOH, an organic acid, also known as ethanoic acid and vinegar acid, is the thirty-third most produced industrial chemical, with 4.68 billion lbs. in 1995. Acetic acid is a clear, colorless, corrosive liquid with a pungent odor. In solution, acetic acid has a pH of 2.9. The glacial form is the pure form without water; it is 99.8% pure. Glacial acetic acid is a solid at normal temperatures. It is flammable, with a flash point of 110