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Benefits of Study of Functional Groups
*Chemical characteristics of complex organic compounds depend upon the functional group they carry. Since functional groups are only few while organic compounds are numerous, by studying chemistry of few functional groups chemical characteristics of a wide range of organic compounds can be studied easily.

  • Compounds containing similar functional group resemble in their chemical characteristics. Hence, similarities in the chemical characteristics between any two members of a homologous series (means compounds containing similar functional group arranged in ascending order of their molar mass), can be easily studied.
    *The organic compounds are large in number; hence their proper identification requires a systematic approach to assign them a particular name. The “International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry” (abbreviated as, "I. U. P. A. C.) has issued guidelines for their nomenclature. This I. U. P. A. C. system of nomenclature of organic compounds is based on the functional group of compounds. For example, if a compound contains a hydroxyl group, its I. U. P. A. C. name must be ended with a suffix, “ol”. It is due to this reason that names of all alcohols end with “ol”; like: Ethanol, Propanol, Butanol, Hexanol and so on.
  • Table-C given below shows prefixes or suffixes used for some common functional groups and names of corresponding compounds.
    By now, we know that the reactivity of organic compound depends upon the functional group it carries. How to compare the chemical reactivity of two different organic compounds containing two different functional groups with ? For this purpose, relative reactivity order of various functional groups is taken into consideration. Below is the list of some common functional groups which are arranged in the decreasing order of their reactivity. From the study of this reactivity order of functional groups, it is now easy to understand that reactivity of -OH group is more than that of -CHO group. This indicates that alcohols are more reactive than aldehydes, provided they contain same hydrocarbon part. This enables us to identify the more reactive compound from a group of several compounds.
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