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Homework Help: Carbocations vs carbanions

  1. Dec 20, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Do alkenes only form carbocations while carbonyl groups only form carbanions?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I understand the relative reactivity of carbocations and carbanions. How does one know when an organic compound follows heterolytic cleavage or homolytic cleavage of H? For example, do alkenes only make carbocations while ketones and aldehydes create carbanions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2014 #2
    You are mixing up quite a few things here and it is very difficult to give you an answer. Let's clear up some terminology and ideas here.

    Carbonyl carbons do not form carbanions. In fact, carbonyl carbons have quite a bit of carbocation character, thus they are attacked by nucleophiles (think formation of an amide or any other -COOH type of chemistry).

    Homolytic versus heterolytic cleavage does not result in postive versus negative charge. Homolytic cleavage leaves neutral molecules whereas homolytic cleavage will result in one positively and one negatively charged molecule. Please draw these out for yourself.

    Please think about some of these ideas/terms and come back with any further questions.
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