cod. 1004453

Academic year 2017/18
2° year of course - First semester
- Franca ZANARDI
Academic discipline
Chimica organica (CHIM/06)
Discipline chimiche
Type of training activity
40 hours
of face-to-face activities
5 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit


Learning objectives

At the end of the course the student is expected to acquire learning and knowledge of basic organic chemistry.
In particular, the student will be able of:
1. Understanding the importance of organic chemistry in the study of drugs and living organisms.
2. Applying knowledge of the basic functional groups for the classification of simple organic molecules (low molecular weight).
3. Knowledge, understanding and applying the structural representation of simple organic molecules and their visualization in the three-dimensional space, also with the help of molecular models.
4. Knowledge and understanding of basic physical-chemistry principles (chemical equilibria, structural theory, thermodynamics and kinetics of organic reactions, acids and bases, nucleophiles and electrophiles).
5. Knowledge, understanding and prevision of the relationship between the structure of simple organic molecules (containing the functional groups detailed in the contents section) and their physical properties, in particular their solubility in aqueous or non-aqueous solvents.
6. Knowledge, understanding and prevision of the relationship between the structure of simple organic molecules (containing the functional groups detailed in the contents section) and their reactivity, also doing suitable exercises.
7. Knowledge and understanding the methods of synthesis and interconversion of simple organic molecules (containing the functional groups detailed in the contents section) and applying these methods for the synthesis and transformation of unknown organic molecules, also doing suitable exercises.
8. Knowledge of the international rules for the nomenclature of simple organic molecules (containing the functional groups detailed in the contents section) and applying them to unknown molecules, also doing suitable exercises.
9. Communication skills on the contents of the course to specialized audience.


To fully appreciate the content of the course, it is necessary to acquire knowledge of general and inorganic chemistry in a previous course. To access the final examination, it is necessary to pass the “General and Inorganic Chemistry” examination.

Course unit content

The introduction of the course is devoted to a general presentation of organic chemistry as a scientific discipline, with a brief overview of its historical background and an highlight of the significance and impact of organic chemistry on contemporary science and life, with particular emphasis toward the world of drugs. Basic principles are then given, emphasizing the key connections between the structure of organic compounds and their physical-chemical properties, recalling some general concepts from the General Chemistry course including thermodynamics principles, the kinetics and the structural theories. The key concepts of covalent and ionic bonds, molecular geometry, resonance, acids and bases in organic chemistry, nucleophilicity and electrophilicity, and isomerism are given (conformational and configurational isomers) and an emphasis is placed to stereoisomerism. The second part of the course comprises the systematic study of simple organic compounds including the structure, nomenclature, natural occurrence, physical properties, reactivity, and synthetic methods of alkanes, cycloalkanes, alkyl halides, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, diols, ethers (epoxides: structure, synthesis).

Full programme

Genesis and development of the science of organic chemistry. Main functional groups of simple organic compounds. The carbon atom as a focal element in organic chemistry: electronic configuration, hybrid orbital, oxidation number within a molecule, valence, electronegativity. Classification of the main classes of organic compounds based on the functional groups and the oxidation number of the carbon atom within them. Radical carbon atom, carbocation, carbanion.

Configurational and conformational isomers. Conformational analysis of linear alkanes and cycloalkanes, in particular mono- and polysubstituted cyclohexanes. Graphical representation of organic molecules (zig-zag, pseudocyclic, Fisher projection, Newman projection along carbon-carbon bond axis). Constitutional isomers and stereoisomers. Chirality of organic molecules, enantiomers, diastereoisomers, compounds possessing two or more stereocenters, R and S descriptors, meso compounds, geometric isomerism. Separation of racemates. Significance of chirality in biology and drugs.

Recalling the concepts of chemical equilibrium, equilibrium constants and relationship with the variation of free energy in a given reaction. Reaction kinetics, activation energy, energy profile of a reaction. Thermodynamic and kinetic control of an organic reaction. Catalysis: general concepts.
Reaction mechanisms, use of curly arrows for their representation. Resonance structures. Representation of radical or ionic reaction mechanisms. Nucleophiles and electrophiles: definition, classification, factors influencing their behavior.

Acid and basic organic compounds. Definition according to Bronsted-Lowry and Lewis. Acid-base equilibria, pKa, equilibria position, dependence of the position of the equilibria upon pH. Factors influencing their behavior.
Main solvent classification in organic chemistry. Relationship between the molecular structure of a simple organic compound and its solubility in aqueous/non-aqueous, protic/aprotic, polar/apolar solvents.

Monomolecular and bimolecular nucleophilic substitution reactions at saturated carbon atoms. Monomolecular and bimolecular elimination reactions. Regioselectivity, stereoselectivity, stereospecificity aspects.
Radical halogenation of alkanes. Regioselectivity aspects.
Brief introduction to organometallic compounds; Grignard reagents.

Electrophilic addition reaction to the carbon-carbon double and triple bond: mechanisms, regioselectivity, stereoselectivity.

Aliphatic domain. Structure, nomenclature, natural occurrence, physical properties, reactivity, and synthesis of: alkanes, cycloalkanes, alkyl halides, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, vicinal diols, aliphatic ethers. Structure, nomenclature, and synthesis of epoxides.


Choose one of the following textbooks (mandatory):
1. W.H. Brown, B. L. Iverson, E. V. Anslyn, C.S. Foote, “Chimica Organica”, V Edizione, EdiSES, Napoli, 2014.
2. Autori vari, “Chimica Organica” (a cura di B. Botta), Edi.Ermes, Milano, 2016.
3. J. McMurry, “Chimica Organica”, VIII Edizione, Piccin, Padova, 2012.
4. Bruice, P. Y. “Chimica Organica”, Terza Edizione, EdiSES, Napoli, 2017.

Choose one of the following exercise books (mandatory):
1. M. V. D’Auria, O. Taglialatela Scafati, A. Zampella, “Guida Ragionata allo Svolgimento di Esercizi di Chimica Organica”, seconda Edizione, Loghia Ed., Napoli, 2011.
2. B. Iverson, S. Iverson, “Guida alla soluzione dei problemi da Brown, Foote, Iverson – Chimica Organica”, 4° Ed., EdiSES, Napoli, 2014.
3. T.W.G. Solomons, C.B. Fryhle, R.G. Johnson, “La chimica organica attraverso gli esercizi”, Seconda Edizione, Zanichelli, Bologna, 2010.
4. S. Cacchi, F. Nicotra, “Esercizi di Chimica Organica”, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, 1998

Further readings (as a suggestion for specific subjects, not mandatory):
1. M. Loudon, “Chimica Organica”, V Edizione, EdiSES, Napoli, 2010.
2. J. G. Smith, "Chimica Organica", McGraw-Hill, Milano, 2007.
3. G.H. Schmid, “Chimica Organica”, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano, 1997
4. J. Clayden, N. Greeves, S. Warren, P. Wothers, “Organic Chemistry”, Oxford Edition, 2001.
5. R. Norman, J.M. Coxon, “Principi di Sintesi Organica”, 2a Edizione Italiana, Piccin Editore, Padova, 1997.

Copies of the text of written examinations of the past academic years are loaded and updated in the Elly platform, to provide further tools in preparation of the examination.

Teaching methods

The course is carried out through frontal oral lessons at the blackboard (total 40 hours corresponding to 5 CFU) including exercises. The exercises are carried out by either the teacher or the students and are considered an essential part of the course to:
-applying the theory to solve practical problems dealing with the contents of the course;
-verifying the status of knowledge before passing to the subsequent subject;
-acquire a method for the execution of execises.

The student is expected to read and study the contents of the lessons by him/herself by using notes and textbook, and applying this knowledge in the execution of exercises, including both the exercises made in classroom, and exercises in the textbook and study guides.
The teacher is available for further explanations about theory and exercises at the end of the lesson, during the break or in office on e-mail appointment.
The teacher may sometimes use additional teaching material (slides) loaded on Elly platform; this material is considered optional and does not substitute the textbook and the exercise study guide, which are mandatory.
Many copies of the text of written examinations of the past academic years are loaded and updated in the Elly platform, to provide further tools in preparation of the examination.

Assessment methods and criteria

To verify the status of knowledge and learning of the student, a written examination is mandatory (1 hour and 45 minutes maximum length) consisting of 7 (open-answer) questions having different weight and corresponding to a score detailed in the text. The result is marked in thirtieth, with a minimum pass of 18; it contributes for the 45% of the final quotation of the whole examination.
To access the final oral examination and subsequent recording, it is necessary to pass also the written examination of the second module (Organic Chemistry). It is possible to do the written examination of both modules (Basic Organic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry) in the same day since they are held at different (subsequent) times.
To access the written examination, the student must register on-line (via Essetre) in the dates according to the official examination schedule of the Food and Drug Department.
The written examination is judged positive (> or equal to 18/30) when the student demonstrates knowledge and learning of the nomenclature of basic organic molecules, acid-base reactions, writing the structure of simple organic molecules.
The laude (30/30 cum laude) is assigned as a maximum quotation when all questions are correctly answered and when specialized language is used.
While doing the examination, no books, notes nor whatever information system must be available.
The result of the written examination is given within one week and anyway before the oral examination of that session via Essetre portal. The student is expected to view his/her work (either passed or negative) which is consigned the day of the oral session. If the student cannot be present that day, he/she has to inform the teacher by e-mail; the teacher will show the work to the student on another date, to be fixed with the student.

Other information

- - -