Rbutton
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Hi, I've just begun A2 chemistry and we've been given some homework which has a question about racemic mixtures on it. We haven't been taught this but I'm really trying to impress my tutor so I really want to give a good answer.
'The sample of CH3CH(OH)CH2CHO produced consists of a racemic mixture (racemate). Explain how the racemic mixture is formed.'

Could somebody help me with what a racemic mixture is and the rest of the question please?

Thank you!


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Maker
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The molecule is chiral, that is it has 4 different groups attached to a single carbon atom. Chiral molecules are optical isomers and can exists in either a left handed or right handed form. If you draw a 3D structure of the molecule, you can see for yourself. The 2 isomers are mirror images of each other.

A racemate mixture has equal amounts of left and right handed molecules.
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Booyah
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If this is true it is pretty cool but I remember my Chemistry teacher saying that Thalidomide had 2 optical isomers, one which caused the deformation of limbs in children and the other caused the wanted prevention of morning sickness in pregnant women.

If the above is true it just goes to show how important it is for Chemists to know their stuff!
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(Original post by Booyah)
If this is true it is pretty cool but I remember my Chemistry teacher saying that Thalidomide had 2 optical isomers, one which caused the deformation of limbs in children and the other caused the wanted prevention of morning sickness in pregnant women.

If the above is true it just goes to show how important it is for Chemists to know their stuff!
Thats true, drugs trials back in the 1950s did not test on pregnant animals but they do now due to Thalidomide. Chiral molecules from biological sources are usually only left handed like glucose because enzymes are also chiral. Only molecules made in labs are racemate although you can use the 3D structure of molecules to influence it a bit.
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