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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 11 Issue 6 (2006) pp 372-377

Improving Reasoning Skills in Organic Students Using Degradation Problems

Ray A. Gross, Jr.

Department of Physical Sciences & Engineering, Prince George’s Community College, Largo, MD 20774,
Received April 24, 2006. Accepted September 24, 2006.

Published online: 7 November 2006

Abstract. Anathons are defined as partial structures found in an analyte, the compound being analyzed. This article shows how 306 hydrocarbons having zero to three rings and one to four pi bonds can be constructed from 22 anathons, which contain four or fewer carbon atoms and one or two bonding sites. Excluding stereochemistry, the structures of these compounds and others that can be created from anathons may be determined by ozonolysis. The compounds afford instructors with a diverse set of structure-determination problems. Molecular formulas of reaction products, and in some cases, the molecular formula of the reactant are the only data needed. Solutions require only a basic knowledge of ozonolysis reactions, but most require students to apply the kind of logic and reasoning that instructors desire to foster in students. Instructors can help students improve their reasoning skills by engaging them in these problems.

Key Words: In the Classroom; organic chemistry, structure

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Article in PDF format (155 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

A table that gives the ozonolysis data, structures, and names for 306 compounds is provided in a Zip file (528 KB).

Issue date: December 1, 2006

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