15 Organic Compounds Examples, their Types & Uses

Organic compounds are those compounds which have an element carbon in them.

Their chemistry and reactions are unique to other chemicals.

Some of them are naturally available while others are synthesized by man.

Unlike inorganic compounds, there are some thousands of organic compounds in the current day.

Due to the vastness of compounds, peculiar chemistry, and properties, they are studied as a separate branch i.e. organic chemistry.

These compounds are of different types with different nature and phases.

Also, some of them exist as biomolecules in living beings while others available in nature.

Organic compounds contain mostly carbon, hydrogen and oxygen elements.

Please refer more details on Organic chemistry for a better idea.

Examples of organic compounds

Solids: Diamond, coal, graphite, acids like (acetic acid, acetic acid), sugars, fats, etc.

Liquids: Ex: Benzene, pyridine, ethanol, acetylene, etc.

Volatile substances: Naphthalene (shows sublimation).

Gasses: Methane, Acetylene, etc. See types of gases for more.

But the best way to study organic compounds examples is with the functional group in mind.

Functional groups are the key structures within the molecule which define the chemical properties of the entire compound.

These are the points of a molecule which undergo reactions and also contribute to physical properties. The physical nature means the odor, state, and reactivity. So based on the functional groups we have different examples as

Sl.NoCompounds Functional groupFormulaUses
1Aliphatic compounds CH CH3-(CH2)n-CH3.
Ethylene makes polythene covers. Acetylene is used as a gas for welding.
2Alicyclic compoundsCHCH2-(CH2)n-CH2.
Methane is used to produce electricity, CycloHexane is used as solvent.
3EthersR-O-RCH3-(CH2)n-O-(CH2)-CH3.
Di-ethyl ether is used as anesthetic.
4EstersR-COO-RCH3-(CH2)-COO-(CH2)-CH3.
All the cooking oils and lipids come under this category.
5AldehydeR-CHOCH3-(CH2)n-CHO.
Formaldehyde is used as disinfectant, to preserve biologic samples etc.
6KetonesR-C=O-RCH3-(CH2)n-C=O-CH3.
Acetone is used To remove nail polish. It is also used as a solvent in chromatography.
7AlcoholsR-CH2-OHCH3-(CH2)n-COH.
For alcoholic drinks, As solvents, fuel etc.
8AmidesR-CONH2CH3-(CH2)n-CONH2.
They are part of proteins and also used in many reactions.
9AminesR-CNH2CH3-(CH2)n-CHNH2
As bases in acid base titrations, as dyes, as drugs like chlorpheniramine (anti-allergy)
10Amino acidsHOOC-CHR-NH2HOOC-CH2-NH2.
11Sterols (Multi-cyclic structures with functional groupsAn example like Cholesterol is meant for cell membrane, Vitamin-D synthesis.
12Aromatic compoundsPlanar unsaturated ring structures.Benzene
They are many compounds used as solvents, medicine, catalysts etc.

Let us see organic compounds examples in detail.

1.Aliphatic compounds: These are the compounds which have just carbon and hydrogen elements in them. The bonds between two carbons can vary as one, two or even three. These compounds can be enormous like Hexane a six carbon chain {CH3-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH3}, heptane {CH3-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH3}, octane eight-member carbon chain, etc.

Ex: Ethane {H3C-CH3}, Ethene {H2C=CH2}, Acetylene {HC≡CH}. These compounds are used widely. Like ethene is used in making plastic bags i.e. polyethylene covers. While the acetylene gas is used in gas welding for joining of metal parts.

2. Alicyclic Compounds: As the name indicates, these compounds are similar to the above but form a ring in their structures. They are formed by a single bond between two carbon atoms in the chain. They are named as Cyclopentane for five carbon rings, cyclohexane for a six member ring structure,  etc.examples of organic compounds

Compounds with functional groups. The same aliphatic compounds can have Oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, etc. as part of chemistry. These chemical points in the molecule are called as functional groups. These functional groups impart a distinctive character to the plain aliphatic chain or rings.

Functional groups having carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

3. Aldehydes: These have an OH group linked to a carbon atom in the chain. Examples include formaldehyde, acetaldehyde. Formaldehyde is used to store biological specimens.

4. Ketones: These are the structures having oxygen linked with a double bond to a carbon atom i.e. {C=O} in the molecule. Some examples include acetone, glucose, sucrose, fructose, etc. Acetone is used as a solvent. While glucose and other sugars are used as food source for carbohydrates.

5. Alcohols: Alcohols are those molecules having -OH moiety linked to carbon atom directly. There are many types of alcohols based on the molecular size. They are used as solvents due to their high polarity. But not all of them can be used due to volatility issues. Ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol and propane alcohol are widely used due to volatility and solubility properties. Also ethanol is widely used for alcoholic beverages and also as a disinfectant to kill microbes.

6. Esters: These are the molecules which form oils and fats. Examples include Arachis oil, sesame oil, mustard oil, etc. They have long chemical structure and susceptible to oxidation when kept open for air for long periods. Some of them are used as cooking oil, for massage, etc.

7. Ethers: They are the compounds having a profuse odor. Hence named as ethers. They have an oxygen atom linked to two carbon atoms. Ex: Diethyl ether (used as an anesthetic).

8. Fatty acids: When esters break down, they release fatty acids and alcohols. They have -COOH structure in their molecules. Ex: lauric acid, arachidonic acid, etc. These fatty acids are used to make soaps.

9. Amides: These are the compounds formed by reaction of acids and amines. Amides form substances like proteins, silk, and even drugs like paracetamol.10. Amines: These are basic in nature and have an ammonia moiety.  Examples codeine used for cough treatment. They are used as dyes to impart color to drugs, indicators in titration, etc. Ex: sunset yellow, methyl orange.

11. Amino acids: These structures have both carboxylic and also amine moiety. There are many amino acids in the body. They help in the maintenance of body through the formation of proteins.

Check out for more Organic chemistry for dummies.

12. Aromatic compounds: These compounds are cyclic in nature but are unsaturated. They have an odor of their own. Ex: Benzene used as a solvent. 

13. Steroid structures. These structures are quite complex as seen in the diagram above. They form cholesterol and other structures. They are derived from fats and lipids. They are used as body boosters, drugs. Ex: betamethasone.

14. Organic acids: Perchloric acid (HClO4), citric acid, tartaric acid. Unlike inorganic acids which are liquid in nature, these acids are in solid state. They are also not as strong as inorganic acids.

15. Alkyl halides: These are the ones which have halogens in their chemistry. Examples: Carbon tetra chloride (CCl4).

Functional groups of organic compounds  can be determined by specific chemical tests. These tests help to know the nature of the unknown compound in the lab.

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  1. Joy Peran
  2. Hrushikesh Avinash Patil
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