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Asymmetric Carbon

  1. Mar 15, 2016 #1
    chiral.png
    My teacher says in picture (1) carbon atom is Asymmetric carbon atom. I don't know why. I know asymmetric carbon atom are those carbon atoms which are bonded with four different groups/atoms by single bonds. But why would we treat a negative sign as a group or atom?
    And I also want to ask for whatever reason we are treating negative sign as a different group we must treat + sign in a same way. Hence, carbon atom in (2) should also be asymmetrical. Right?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2016 #2
    Hi Gracy,
    It would help if you would let us know what level class this is for. The explanation level should greatly depend on that.
     
  4. Mar 15, 2016 #3

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    Hint: difference in charges means difference in the number of electrons present. They have to "be somewhere".
     
  5. Mar 15, 2016 #4
    You mean negative charge isn't present there alone there must be an atom carrying that negative charge?
     
  6. Mar 15, 2016 #5

    Borek

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    No. There is no atom carrying the charge.

    The electron ha to be somewhere. For example in a water molecule, in an ammonia molecule, there are electrons that are not accompanied by an atom (it happens that these molecules don't carry a charge, but the idea is exactly the same).

    Where do these electrons reside?
     
  7. Mar 15, 2016 #6

    Ygggdrasil

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    Are these examples you made up or your teacher made up? I don't think these represent any actual molecules that would exist (for example, the nitrogen with only a single chemical bond would be very unstable).

    In general, however, it may be useful to consider the geometry of the carbon (i.e. is it trigonal planal, trigonal pyrimidal, tetrahedral, bent, linear, etc).
     
  8. Mar 15, 2016 #7
    My teacher.
     
  9. Mar 15, 2016 #8
    I think there are partial charges in water and ammonia molecules.
     
  10. Mar 15, 2016 #9

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    We are not talking about dipoles here.

    Have you ever heard about a lone pair? An orbital?
     
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