This book is about helping you become comfortable and confident in proposing reasonable mechanisms for organic chemistry reactions. We will cover acid-catalyzed mechanisms and base-catalyzed mechanisms in some detail.
This book is ideal for undergraduate science sophomores who are taking or will be taking a year long sequence of organic chemistry. A basic understanding of chemistry is required. Ideally, you must have taken a general chemistry course.
Predicting the outcome of a reaction as well as understanding its formation is done on the basis of a reaction s mechanism. By learning to propose mechanisms correctly, you will understand why reactions work they way they do in organic chemistry. Often the product is not the one predicted to form. Making sense of why and how such products form is possible by proposing reasonable mechanisms. Drawing mechanisms for reactions encountered in organic chemistry can seem like an impossible task especially early in the traditional undergraduate course. For some, working out mechanisms seems to go nowhere. For others, it looks more like art than chemistry. Some encounter ignition problems they don t know where to begin! A few get the hang of it and actually work mechanisms just for the fun of it. Mechanisms are puzzles. If you like solving puzzles, you are ready to take on the challenge of solving mechanisms. The cool part about mechanisms is that though we don t know if these processes are actually happening step-by-step as we propose them to be, they still work to both understand and predict the outcome of reactions.
The key to proposing reasonable mechanisms is to know a few basic accepted rules in organic chemistry. In Section 1 we divide all species involved in mechanisms into two groups: nucleophiles and electrophiles. Then in Section 2 we establish a few rules about pushing arrows. We consider acid-catalyzed mechanisms in Section 3 followed by base-catalyzed mechanisms in Section 4. Finally, we introduce radical mechanisms and neighboring group participation in Section 5.