D11.7 Aromatic Molecules

Benzene, C6H6, is representative of a large number of aromatic compounds. These compounds contain ring structures and exhibit bonding that must be described using resonance structures. The resonance structures for benzene are:

This structural formula shows a six carbon hydrocarbon ring. On the left side there are six C atoms. The C atom on top and to the left forms a single bond to the C atom on the top and to the right. The C atom has a double bond to another C atom which has a single bond to a C atom. That C atom has a double bond to another C atom which has a single bond to a C atom. That C atom forms a double bond with another C atom. Each C atom has a single bond to an H atom. There is a double sided arrow and the structure on the right is almost identical to the structure on the left. The structure on the right shows double bonds where the structure on the left showed single bonds. The structure on the right shows single bonds where the stucture on the left showed double bonds.

All six carbon-carbon bonds are equivalent and exhibit bond lengths that are intermediate between those of a C–C single bond and a C=C double bond.

The chemical reactivity of aromatic compounds differs from the reactivity of alkenes. For example, aromatic compounds do not undergo addition reactions. Instead, with the aid of a catalyst, they can undergo substitution reactions where one of the hydrogen atoms is replaced by a substituent: another atom or group of atoms. A substitution reaction leaves the delocalized double bonds intact.

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Chemistry 109 Fall 2021 by John Moore, Jia Zhou, and Etienne Garand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.