Functional Groups
Learning Outcomes
On completing these problems you should be able to:
 • Recognise and name common functional groups.
 • Draw structures containing specified functional groups.

Carbon-carbon single bonds, and attached carbon-hydrogen bonds, are very stable and difficult to break.  In contrast, carbon-carbon multiple bonds and bonds between carbon and elements other than hydrogen are chemically reactive sites because there are relatively weak (e.g. the pi bond of an alkene), or are polarised (e.g. the carbon-magnesium bond of a Grignard reagent).  Two important consequences flow from this observation.  First, most reactions of organic compounds take place at the functional groups.  Second, compounds with the same functional group(s), but different carbon skeletons have very similar chemical reactivity because the differences in the inert carbon backbone have relatively little impact.

As a result, chemists organise organic compounds into "families" according to the functional groups that they contain.  For example, compounds that contain the R-C(=O)-H functional group all show strong similarities in their reactivity, and they are called aldehydes.  It is important to be able to recognise the common functional groups and to learn their characteristic reactions.

On this page you can test your ability to recognise, and to draw, common functional groups.

How To Use This Page:   First choose the type of problem you want to try, and select whether to try an "Easy" or a "More Difficult" problem using the "radio buttons" below ("Easy" problems of the "Identify" type are selected by default).  Then, click the "Get Problem" button, and the problem will appear to the left of the molecule drawing window, and instructions on how to proceed will appear on the right.
When you have finished identifying, or drawing, the functional groups, click on the "Check" button.  
Feedback on your answer will be provided to the right of the molecular editor window and your score will be updated.  If the answers are not correct, study the feedback carefully and consult the relevant Help pages if you wish, then modify the answers and click on the "Check" button again.  You must complete each problem before you can choose another one.
Review your progress regularly and move on to problems of a different level of difficulty, or of a different type, as appropriate.

ChemInteractive is still in the development and testing phase.
This page is fully functional and problems of the four different types are available (85 problems in total).  More features will be added during February, but the page can be used as is.  If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave them here.

Choose the type of problem
Identify functional groups in structures
Draw structures containing specified functional groups
Choose level of difficulty
More difficult
JSME molecular editor (Help)