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chain and position isomers...please explain to me the difference watch

    • Thread Starter

    i reallly dont understand!!!! please help
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    • Study Helper

    Community Assistant
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    (Original post by jak67m)
    i reallly dont understand!!!! please help
    Chain isomer you just change the position of the carbon atoms in the hydrocarbon chain:

    methylpropane and butane

    Positional isomers you move a heteroatom (ie one that is not C or H) to different positions on the chain:

    1-chloropropane and 2-chloropropane

    This is best shown with examples. Let's take the formula C4H9OH, which in its simplest form, is CH3-CH2-CH2-CH2OH, butan-1-ol. A chain isomer would be CH3-CH2(CH3)-CH2OH, which is 2-methylpropan-1-ol. The carbon chain has been altered so that one methyl group is now a branch on the side.

    Going back to butan-1-ol, the hydroxyl group can be moved to the second carbon so it is CH3-CH2-CHOH-CH3. This is butan-2-ol and is a positional isomer of butan-1-ol. Moving any functional group in this way gives positional isomers.

    We can also have combinations of isomers. For example, CH3-C(CH3)(OH)-CH3, 2-methylpropan-2-ol, is both a chain isomer and positional isomer of butan-1-ol.
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