Why learn to classify compounds? Millions of chemical compounds are known. Just as biologists group plants and animals to show their fundamental similarities, chemists group compounds to show patterns and trends in chemical properties. These groupings help chemists understand how a material's molecular structure determines its chemical and physical properties. Learning to classify compounds will help you see some underlying order in the hundreds of compounds you're likely to encounter in general chemistry.
How is compound classification used? Each class of compounds has a chemical naming scheme that allows the compound's complete structure and formula to be worked out from its name. In order to learn and use these chemical names you'll have to learn which class a compound belongs in. You will also find compound classification useful in devising methods for separating mixtures and for choosing solvents.
How are compounds classified? These pages outline some of the more useful schemes for classifying most common compounds.
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