Molecular structures



The structures of the simple alcohols follow a simple pattern, which is easy to understand from a few pictures. The formulae for the first three alcohols are depicted pictorially in Fig. 82. Notice that there are two different pictures of propanol, and four for butanol. This is because there are more than one ways to arrange the molecules of some substances, and these different arrangements of atoms are called isomers. The structures shown here are simply two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional reality. We've attempted to improve on that in these other drawings of ethanol and water.

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