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Enantiomer vs. chiral

  1. Sep 24, 2012 #1
    What makes something chiral, but not an enantiomer? It seems like they have the exact same definition
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2012 #2


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    Chiral is an adjective that describes an object that cannot be exactly overlaid on its mirror image. Enantiomer is a noun that describes one of the pairs of mirror images of a chiral object. So, all chiral objects have enantiomers.
  4. Sep 24, 2012 #3


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    The only way you could have two chiral molecules not be enantiomers is for them to be diastereomers which requires at least two chiral centers. Of course every chiral molecule has an enantiomer.
  5. Sep 24, 2012 #4


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    Strictly speaking, chirality is an ensemble property (although the ensemble can also consist of a single molecule) while enantiomerism refers to single molecules.
    E.g. a 50:50 mixture of d and l glucose enantiomers (a "racemic" mixture) is not considered to be chiral.
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