Bluffton University

Organic Chemistry

Molecular Models:
Chiral centers

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However, a methane with four different substituents, such as bromochlorofluoromethane, is chiral. Examine the models of the two different molecules below. You will see that they are mirror images and cannot be superimposed! Such molecules are enantiomers of each other.

bromochlorofluoromethane bromochlorofluoromethane
Which of the two molecules above is R? Which is S?

Other molecules can also be thought of as "substituted methanes." Those with four substituents -- like 2-bromobutane and 2-butanol -- are also chiral.

Build pairs of enantiomers for 2-butanol and 2-bromobutane. Draw the R and S of each. The enantiomers of 2-bromobutane are shown below. Which is R and which is S?

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Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2007 by Daniel J. Berger. This work may be copied without limit if its use is to be for non-profit educational purposes. Such copies may be by any method, present or future. The author requests only that this statement accompany all such copies. All rights to publication for profit are retained by the author.