Bluffton University

Organic Chemistry

Molecular Models

Thinking in three dimensions is one of the most important skills in organic chemistry. Most organic molecules (especially biological molecules) function through and because of their particular three-dimensional shapes. You must be able to translate flat pictures of molecules into three-dimensional models in your mind in order to do well in either organic or biochemistry. In order to develop this skill, you have been asked to purchase a molecular model kit. This series of exercises, aided by online molecular models, will help you learn to use your model kit.


  1. Structure and Nomenclature
    1. Using the Molecular Visions model kit
    2. Structure and nomenclature
      1. Alkanes, alkenes and alkynes
      2. Stereoisomers: Cis-trans diastereomers
    3. Conformation and Newman projections
      1. Cyclohexane conformations
  2. Chirality
    1. Chiral centers
    2. Fischer projections
    3. Rules for manipulating Fischer projections
    4. Fischer projection exercises

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Photographs appearing in these pages are courtesy of Professor Michael Edmiston's loan of a digital camera.

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.