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Organic Compounds In Household Products

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This exercise will allow you to see the relevance of organic chemistry in the world around you. You will identify organic compounds in household items and drugs.

Locate two or more products in your home that contain organic molecules.

From these products, make a list of 10 organic compounds present in the products.
In addition to listing the compound names, list the product in which it was found.
For each compound named identify a functional group the compound would contain.

Part B.

In this exercise you will identify organic compounds in the household items you've previously identified. Using your knowledge of naming and functional groups, you will determine the properties of your molecules and determine 'molecularly' how they behave.

Choose two of the compounds from your list in Part A.

Based on the functional group(s) present in the two compounds, determine 3 physical properties for each of the two compounds.
Using these physical properties determine how each of the two compounds uniquely function in the products in which they are found.

Example: Isopropyl alcohol is polar and can form or accept hydrogen bonds, has a short nonpolar region, and isopropyl alcohol is very water soluble. The polar regions in isopropyl alcohol allow it to dissolve in a water based sanitizer. Its nonpolar portion lowers its boiling point relative to water, thus it evaporates from the skin rapidly. The nonpolar portion and its small size; allows the molecule to enter cell membranes and disrupt them. Also, the alcohol can enter the cytoplasm and disrupt cellular functions. These last two properties make it ideal for killing bacteria.

Part C.

In this exercise you will identify organic compounds in two medications. Using your knowledge of naming and functional groups, you will determine the properties of your molecules and determine 'molecularly' how they behave.

Find two medications (over the counter or prescription).

Determine the structure of one active component in each medication.
Identify three functional groups on each drug molecule.
Based on the functional groups present in the drug molecules, predict the physical properties of the molecule the drug would interact with. (i.e., describe the molecule which the drug targets). This gets at the "molecularity" of the drug interaction.

Here is an example:

Sodium dodecyl sulfate is a detergent molecule found in toothpaste.

(from Wikipedia)

This molecule has a 12 carbon saturated chain. It is a derivative of a fatty acid where the COOH group has been replaced by a CSO4- head group. The presence of the Na+ tells me it is an ionic salt. The ionic head group allows the molecule to interact with polar molecules such as water. However, the molecule has 12 carbon tail that is very nonpolar. This molecule is designed to act as an amphipathic molecule. Its polar end interacts with polar substances like water. Its tail group interacts with the lipid component. In the case of toothpaste the nonpolar tails interact with the nonpolar lipid component of bacteria and plaque. This disrupts the plaque and bacteria and helps dislodge it from the teeth.

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Solution Summary

This solution lists products that contain organic compounds in the household as well as identifies the functional groups found. A description is given to each compound on their uses and reaction mechanism.