Acid-Base Organic Chemistry

Posted on September 21st, 2012

The acid-base properties of organic compounds are of utmost importance as they can provide critical information regarding the reactivity of a given compound.

Organic compounds can be defined in a number of different ways:

Acid Base
Arrhenius Dissociation in water yields H+ Dissociation in water yieldsOH
Bronstead-Lowry Proton (H+) donor Proton (H+) acceptor
Lewis Electrophile (a compound that accepts electrons) Nucleophile (a compound that donates electrons)


After determining whether the compound is an acid as opposed to a base, one can look at the pKa to determine its strength. The lower the pKa, the stronger the acid. Also, the more readily a compound can donate a proton, the more acidic it is. Certain functional groups are more acidic than others (such as carboxylic acids and phenols). The more stable a molecule is without a proton, the more easily it will give it up and become deprotanated. On the other hand, the more readily a compound donates electrons the more basic it is. These acid-base properties all play an important role in the reactivity of organic compounds.

For more information regarding Acid-Base Organic Chemistry- check out Part Seven of the Summary Guide. To practice what you learned, test your knowledge with the Part Seven Exercise Set.