Skeletal structure chemistry is a key component to working through reactions and mechanisms when studying organic chemistry. In this article I will show you a number of reasons why you must know and understand how to draw skeletal structures for organic compounds.
As an organic chemistry student you will study many different types of molecules. You will learn how to name and identify functional groups, followed by learning the specific reactions and mechanisms for each of the above.
As you learn the different components you will find yourself writing the molecules over and over. And while you may chose to represent your structures in a Lewis Structure or even condense molecular formula, I will advise against it for the following reasons:
- Skeletal structure chemistry is neater compared to the other formats
- Skeletal structures are faster to draw compared to the other structures
- Skeletal structures are easier to recognize and identify
Let’s take a look at each reason individually keeping in mind that skeletal structures, bond-line-notation, or simply line-structure all refer to the same type of molecular drawings.
Bond-Line-Notation is Is Neater Compared To The Other Formats
when writing out molecules in reactions, speed is important. The faster you write the faster you can finish the problem at hand and move on to the next example. As you write faster you will find yourself writing sloppier and sloppier. When writing detailed structures with every atom showing you will find yourself sacrificing the neatness of your drawings for the sake of time. Skeletal or line structure is faster and therefor does not require ‘speeding up’ to complete. This will ensure a neat and clean paper.
Skeletal structures are faster to draw compared to the other structures
As I wrote above, lines are faster to draw compared to every single individual carbon and hydrogen atom in your structure. When using skeletal or line structure you can omit the carbon atoms by simply drawing lines. Hydrogen atoms are implied and therefore omitted as well. This cuts your drawing time drastically.
Skeletal structures are easier to recognize and identify
Last, but certainly not least, lines are neater and easier to identify at a quick glance. Let’s face it, as a science student you likely don’t have the neatest handwriting. When you draw out a molecule with every atom and bond angle showing, you likely have a very ‘squished’ mess of atoms on paper. However, when simplified to line structure you will find your drawings organized, neat, concise, and therefor easily recognizable at just a glance.