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    chirality means simply that the compound can't superimpose with its mirror image, and does not necessarily mean four different atoms attached to its stereogenic centre, right?

    and there is this thing, gauche and anti form of butane, apparently the gauche form is chiral although butane is achiral. how?
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    (Original post by shengoc)
    chirality means simply that the compound can't superimpose with its mirror image, and does not necessarily mean four different atoms attached to its stereogenic centre, right?

    and there is this thing, gauche and anti form of butane, apparently the gauche form is chiral although butane is achiral. how?
    Yup, there are many examples of 'handed' molecules without four separate groups on a carbon, eg hexahelicene

    The butane 'isomers' are not really isomers at all, they are rotational states the molecule passes through, better called conformers (as they are due to different conformations). At room temperature the available energy allows free rotation about the C-C single bonds as the CH3 groups do not require much space. The reason that one conformer is chiral is that it does not have a plane of symmetry whereas the other does.
 
 
 
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