Academic Year 2021/2022 - 1° Year
Teaching Staff Credit Value: 12
Scientific field: CHIM/06 - Organic chemistry
Taught classes: 35 hours
Exercise: 12 hours
Laboratories: 72 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives


    Organic Chemistry and Lab I (Mod 1)

    Aim of the course is to acquire the knowledge of the key concepts of the organic chemistry. In particular, the course is aimed:

    - to introduce the fundamental knowledge for the study of the basic organic molecules in relation to its structure, reactivity, properties;

    - to know the main classes of organic molecules;

    - to the view of simple organic molecules in three dimensions with an emphasis to their stereochemical properties.


    Furthermore, in reference to the so-called Dublin Descriptors, this course helps to acquire the following skills:

    D1 - Knowledge and understanding: The students will have to demonstrate their mastery of basic knowledge about the organic chemistry. In particular, the students must show their ability to rationalize property-structure correlations of organic molecules

    D2 - Ability to apply knowledge: The students will have to show knowledge and understanding of organic reactions required to produce synthetic processes of relatively complex molecules.

    D3 - Autonomy of judgment: The students will have to apply their knowledge, understanding and skills. Particularly, the students must show his ability to critical reasoning and their ability to identify the most appropriate chemical reactions aimed to the synthesis of organic molecules.

    D4 - Communication skills: The students must be able to communicate clearly with a correct property of language and terminological rigor their conclusions.

    D5- Learning skills: The students will have to develop learning skills that will enable them to continue studying in a self-directed or autonomous way.

    • The course aims to provide students with the fundamental safety concepts to be adopted in an Organic Chemistry laboratory and to provide basic knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of the main laboratory techniques of Organic Chemistry.
    • The course aims to provide knowledge of the standard purification techniques of organic compounds and the primary methodologies for their recognition and their characterization.
    • The concepts illustrated during the lectures will become practice during the laboratory sessions.
    • At the end of the course, the student will be able to independently carry out the purification and characterization of an organic compound by working in safe conditions and preparing a scientific report.

    Concerning the so-called Dublin Descriptors, the learning outcomes of the course are:

    • D1 - Knowledge and understanding: students will acquire knowledge of both the equipment of the Organic Chemistry laboratory and both standard laboratory procedures for the preparation and purification of organic compounds. Furthermore, they will get complete knowledge of the concepts of safety and danger to the environment and health.
    • D2 - Ability to apply knowledge and understanding: students will be able to responsibly manipulate organic compounds, knowing and strictly adhering to safety regulations. They will be able to assemble and use the main equipment in an organic chemistry laboratory to purify and characterize an organic compound.
    • At the end of the course, they will be able to record and document the experimental activities reliably and systematically in the laboratory notebook.
    • D3 - Independent judgment: students will be able to design and conduct their experiments independently. At the end of the course, they will know how to interpret the collected data in a coherent, critical and correct way, correlating them to the appropriate theories; besides they will know how to formulate hypotheses and discard the incorrect ones.
    • D4 - Communication skills: students will acquire the ability to communicate in written and oral form through the use of an appropriate language, experimental data, information, problems encountered and possible solutions.
    • D5 - Learning skills: students will be able to apply a standard technique used in organic chemistry laboratories autonomously, showing the ability to deal with a problem by applying the skills acquired during the course. Finally, they will have to show that they have developed good learning and in-depth skills to deal efficiently with subsequent chemistry lab courses.


    Information for students with disabilities and/or SLD

    To guarantee equal opportunities and in compliance with the laws in force, interested students can ask for a personal interview in order to plan any compensatory and/or dispensatory measures, based on the didactic objectives and specific needs.

Course Structure


    Classroom Lectures (42 hours).

    Should teaching be carried out in mixed mode or remotely, it may be necessary to introduce changes with respect to previous statements, in line with the programme planned and outlined in the syllabus. Learning assessment may also be carried out on line, should the conditions require it.


    The course consists of 6 credits corresponding to 72 hours arranged between hours of theoretical lessons and hours of laboratory exercises. The hours of theoretical lessons are preliminary to the development of laboratory exercises. The student will be engaged in laboratory exercises lasting 4 hours each.

    Should teaching be carried out in mixed mode or remotely, it may be necessary to introduce changes with respect to previous statements, in line with the programme planned and outlined in the syllabus.

Detailed Course Content


    Organic Chemistry and Lab I (Mod 1)

    Introduction to carbon chemistry. Recalling the concepts of atomic orbitals. Electronic configuration of atoms. Representations of Lewis. The octet rule. The chemical bond. Covalent bonds and the Pauling electronegativity scale. Resonance theory. σ and π bonds. Hybrid orbitals sp3, sp2, sp. Intermolecular interactions. Classification of organic compounds and functional groups. General principles of the IUPAC nomenclature for organic compounds. Graphical representation of molecules.

    Reactions in organic chemistry. Chemical bonds cleavage. Classification of carbon and hydrogen atoms in organic molecules. Carbocations, carbanions and alkyl radicals: geometry and stability. Reaction mechanisms, use of curly arrows for their representation. Energy diagrams. Recalling the concepts of acid and basic. Acid-basic reactions and redox reactions of organic compounds. Electrophiles and nucleophiles. Reaction classification: substitution, elimination and addition reactions. Regioselectivity, stereoselectivity, stereospecificity aspects of the reactions in organic chemistry.

    Alkanes and cycloalkanes. IUPAC nomenclature. Source and importance of alkanes. Physical and chemical properties. Constitutional isomerism and conformational isomerism in alkanes. Cycloalkanes. Geometric isomerism of cycloalkanes. Reactivity: radical substitution and combustion reaction.

    Constitutional isomers and stereoisomers. Constitutional isomerism. Stereoisomerism: conformational and configurational isomerism. Chirality. Asymmetric carbon. Enantiomers. Optical activity. Relative configuration and absolute configuration. Naming enantiomers: the R,S system of nomenclature. Three-dimensional representation of enantiomers. Stereoisomers with two or more asymmetric carbon atoms. Diasteroisomers and meso compounds. Biological importance of chirality. Separation of enantiomers. Geometric isomerism: cis-trans isomers.

    Alkenes. Structure and nomenclature. Geometric isomers of alkenes: cis-trans and E-Z nomenclature. Physical properties. Alkenes in nature. Dienes, trienes and polyenes (hint). Electrophilic Addition reactions of conjugated dienes. Methods of preparation of alkenes. Carbon-carbon double bond reactivity: the electrophilic addition reaction in alkenes. The reaction mechanism. The addition of halogenidric acids and regioselectivity. Markovnikov's rule. The addition of water. Transposition of carbocations. The addition of halogens. Halohydrins. Oxidation of alkenes. Reduction of alkenes: catalytic hydrogenation. Cyclic alkenes.

    Alkynes. Nomenclature. Triple bond structure. Reactivity. Acidity of a hydrogen bonded to an sp hybridized carbon. The addition reaction in alkynes. Addition of halogenidric acids and halogens. Reduction to alkenes (with Lindlar’s catalyst) and to alkanes.

    Aromatic compounds. Structure and properties of benzene. Resonance energy and aromaticity concept. Hückel's rule. Nomenclature of mono-, di- and poly-substituted benzene derivatives. Reactivity of the benzene ring: the general mechanism for electrophilic aromatic substitution reactions. Halogenation; nitration; sulfonation; Friedel & Crafts alkylation, Friedel & Crafts acylation. Reaction of substituents on benzene. The effect of substituents on reactivity and orientation.

    Alkyl and aryl halides. Structure and nomenclature. Preparation methods. Reactions of alkyl halides. Aliphatic nucleophilic substitution: the SN1 and SN2 mechanisms: role of substrate, leaving group, solvent and nucleophile. The elimination reaction (β-elimination): the mechanisms E1 and E2. The stereochemistry of substitution and elimination reactions. Competition between substitution and elimination reactions. Reaction with magnesium or lithium: formation of organometallic compounds. Grignard reagents.

    Alcohols. Structure, nomenclature and classification of alcohols. Physical properties: the hydrogen bond. Preparation methods. Diols and glycols (hints). Alcohol group reactivity. Salt formation; acid and basic properties. Reaction with metals. Formation of alkyl halides: reactions with halogenidric acids (SN2 and SN1). Reaction with SOCl2 and PBr3. Alkenes formation: acid-catalyzed dehydration (E1 and E2). Regioselectivity and stereoselectivity. Oxidation of primary and secondary alcohols. Formation of semi-acetals and acetals. Ethers, epoxides, thiols and sulphides (hints).

    Phenols. Acidity of phenols. Kolbe carboxylation of phenols. Benzyl carbon: outline of benzyl carbon reactions. Oxidation of the alkyl chains linked to benzene.

    Aldehydes and ketones. Structure. Nomenclature. Preparation methods. Chemical and physical properties of the carbonyl group. Reactivity. Nucleophilic addition reactions: addition of alcohols, water, Grignard reagents, HCN. Addition of primary amines: formation of Schiff bases. Oxidation. Reduction of carbonyl compounds. Keto-Enol tautomerism.

    Carboxylic acids. Structure and nomenclature. Physical properties. Preparation methods. Acidity. Effect of substituents on acidity in aliphatic acids; salts and soaps formation. Reactions of carboxylic acids. Reduction with LiAlH4: formation of primary alcohols. Decarboxylation. Fischer esterification. Reaction with diazomethane: formation of methyl esters. Reaction with thionyl chloride: formation of acyl chlorides.

    Functional derivatives of carboxylic acids. Acyl halides, esters, anhydrides, amides, nitriles: structure and nomenclature. Reactivity. Nucleophilic acyl substitution reaction. Addition of Grignard reagents to esters. Hydrolysis reactions of carboxylic acid derivatives. Reduction reactions.

    Amines. Structure and nomenclature. Physical properties. Basicity. Preparation methods. Reactivity. Amine reactions with nitrous acid. Reactions of diazonium salts. Diazo-coupling. Azo dyes. Hofmann’s Elimination. Cope’s Elimination.

    1. Introduction to the organic chemistry laboratory: safety regulations; Laboratory equipment: risks and use; Use of laboratory solvents.
    2. Heating and cooling techniques
    3. Organic solvents: characteristics
    4. Physical constants: Melting Points and Boiling Points
    5. Purification of solids and purity criteria: filtration; crystallization; drying; sublimation; distillation; extraction techniques of organic compounds: basic and acid substances extraction
    6. Chromatographic separations (thin layer chromatography and column chromatography).

    Laboratory experiences:

    1. Purification of an organic compound through recrystallisation;
    2. Distillation
    3. Separation of organic products throughout solvent extraction;
    4. Caffeine extraction from tea leaves;
    5. Thin-layer chromatography;
    6. Soap preparation;
    7. Pigment extractions from spinach leaves and chromatographic separation;
    8. Aspirin synthesis;
    9. Polarimeter experiment

Textbook Information


    1) W.H. Brown – B.L. Iverson – E.V. Anslyn – C.S. Foote - “Chimica Organica”, con modelli molecolari - V Edizione EdiSES

    2) B. Botta - “Chimica Organica” - Edi-ermes

    3) P. Bruice - "Chimica Organica - con modelli molecolari - III Edizione EdiSES

    1. D. L. Pavia, G. M. Lampman, G. S. Kriz. Il laboratorio di Chimica Organica. Ed. Sorbona
    2. M. D’Ischia. La Chimica Organica in Laboratorio. Ed. Piccin
    3. R. M. Roberts, J. C. Gilbert, S.F. Martin. Chimica Organica Sperimentale.Zanichelli
    4. K. L. Williamson, K. M. Masters. Macroscale and Miscoscale Organic Experiments. Ed. K. Williamson, Houghton Mifflin