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What are Isomers?

When two or more compounds having the same formula but different structures are called isomers.

 

Example 1

n-butane and Isobutane both have the same chemical  formula C 4 H 10 .But they have different structure . .

 

Explanation for n-butane

  • n-butane means Normal Butane
  • Formula for normal butane is C 4 H 10
  • ‘but’ stands for 4, hence it has 4 carbon atoms
  • Number of hydrogen atoms = 2 × Carbon Atoms + 2 = 2 × 4 + 2 = 8 + 2 = 10

Hence we get formula C 4 H 10

In n butane, we show all 4 carbon atoms together as shown below

Example 2

n-pentane, Isopentane and neopentane all have formula C5H12, but different structures.

 

Explanation for n-pentane

  • n-Pentane means Normal pentane
  • Formula for Normal pentane is C 5 H 12
  • ‘pent’ stands for 5, hence it has 5 Carbon atoms
  • Number of Hydrogen Atoms = 2 × Carbon Atoms + 2 = 2 × 5 + 2 = 10 + 2 = 12
  • Hence we get formula C 5 H 12

In n pentane, we show all 5 carbon atoms together as shown below:

 

Explanation for isopentane: 

  • The formula for isopentane is also C 5 H 12 however the arrangement is different
  • In this 4 carbon atoms are in a chain and 1 carbon atom forms a branch at the 2nd carbon of the chain. The structure of isopentane is as follows:

 

Explanation for neopentane:

  • The formula for neopentane is also C 5 H 12 , but the arrangement is different. 
  • In this 3 carbon atoms form the chain and the remaining 2 form branches on the second carbon atom of the chain as shown in the figure below:

 

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CA Maninder Singh

CA Maninder Singh is a Chartered Accountant for the past 12 years and a teacher from the past 16 years. He teaches Science, Economics, Accounting and English at Teachoo