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What is "isomerism"?

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lizg10 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 8, 2011 at 7:39 AM via web

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What is "isomerism"?

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crmhaske | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted May 8, 2011 at 8:17 AM (Answer #1)

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An isomerism (isomer) is a phenomenon whereby two compounds share the same chemical formula whilst behaving differently.  The German chemist Johannes Wislicneus suggested in 1873 that this is possible because of differences in the molecular structure or arrangement of the atoms between the two bonds.  The former is called a structural isomer and the latter is called a stereoisomer.  In order for a stereoisomer to exist, there must be carbon atoms bonded with other carbon atoms in the molecular structure.

Exmaples:

The carbon atoms in butane (C4H10) can connect in a straight-line (n-butane) or the fourth carbon atom can branch off of the middle carbon atom in a chain of three (iso-butane).

i.e.
H H H H
|  |  |  |
n-butane:   H-C-C-C-C-H
|  |  |  |
H H H H

H
|
H-C-H
H | H
|  |  |
iso-butane:    H-C-C-C-H
|  |  |
H H H

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ashu39 | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted November 22, 2011 at 7:53 PM (Answer #2)

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Isomers are the compounds having same chemical formula but different structural formula . This process of forming compounds is called isomerism.

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