Organic Chemistry
Chemical Engineering - CHEN 10015


organic .001

Introduction to Organic Chemistry

I taught this course to the first year Undergraduate students in Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science at the University of Manchester between 2005 & 2007.



The programme unit aims to: Refresh and develop the students’ ability to analyse and recognise the structural features of simple organic molecules which provide a basis for understanding their stability and/or reactivity. Organic stereochemistry and structural nomenclature shall be introduced, along with the concept of reaction mechanisms, as viewed at the electronic level. It is hoped that the students shall gain a greater degree of understanding of the relationship between the bonding of molecules and their reactivity. Additionally, the students shall be introduced to computer software used to facilitate molecular representations on standard desktop PC’s. This shall enable students to make full use of IT facilities when discussing chemical structure and formulae, and shall serve to assist students in their production of written reports.


  • Covalent bonding
  • Representation of molecules
  • Polarisation, electronegativity, inductive and resonance effects in bonds
  • The use of reaction mechanism arrows
  • The pKa Scale
  • Structure, conformation and nomenclature of alkanes and haloalkanes
  • Stereochemistry (one strereogenic centre) and polarimetry
  • R/S and E/Z nomenclature
  • Nucleophilic substitution reactions of haloalkanes
  • ChemDraw / ChemSketch / ISISDraw


  • Draw and name simple organic species.
  • Account for their 3D structure and stability in electronic terms
  • Label a chiral centre (R) or (S)
  • Explain the operating principles of a polarimeter
  • Draw the mechanism for free-radical halogenation of alkanes
  • Discuss electrophilic and nucleophilic reagents and their reactions
  • Draw the mechanism for nucleophilic substitution reactions
  • Draw organic molecules using the various conventions of representations
  • Predict the effects of polarisation, resonance, conformation, steric interaction and ring-strain on simple organic molecules
  • Use the pKa scale of relative acidities of various acids and the basicity of bases to predict the outcome of simple proton transfer processes
  • Interpret and interconvert molecular structure diagrams
  • Use of Chemical structure drawing software for report preparation


  • G. Michael Hornby & Josephine M. Peach, Foundations of Organic Chemistry OUP, 1993,  ISBN 019 855 680 2
  • John McMurry, Organic Chemistry, 5th Edition, Brooks/Cole, 1999 ISBN 053 436 274 5
  • K. Peter C. Vollhardt, Neil E. Schore, Organic Chemistry: structure and function 3rd Edition. W.H. Freeman, 1999, ISBN 071 672 721 8
  • Francis A. Carey, Organic Chemistry, 4th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2000, ISBN 0 07 290 501 8
  • A set of ‘Orbit’ molecular models is recommended – Cochrane molecular models Orbit, organic/inorganic, Fluka Code 99793,