In This Chapter
Seeing ten very cool organic molecules
Recognizing that organic molecules can be structurally and functionally interesting
In this chapter, I cover ten organic molecules that have structurally interesting features or turn out to be functionally useful. Or they just have structures that I think look cool.
Organic explosives are molecules that usually combine both a source of fuel and an oxidizer within the same molecule, such that upon an initiating event (such as heat, shock, or light) an uncontrollable oxidation reaction occurs that generates pressurized gases, heat, and a resulting shockwave. Often, organic structures that contain both hydrocarbons (fuel) and oxidizing groups (such as nitro groups) can serve as explosives. Trinitrotoluene, or TNT, for example, contains both hydrocarbon fuel (the benzene ring) and oxidizing nitro groups within the same structure, leading to a compound with explosive properties.
An interesting recently developed explosive is octanitrocubane, shown in Figure 23-1. The idea behind this explosive is that the structure holds a great deal of energy in its highly strained rings. As a result, explosion of this molecule leads to more heat being given off when reaction converts the structure ...