Uses Of Organic Compounds

Describe the uses of organic compounds in our society.  Give an example of an alkane, an alcohol, and a carboxylic acid.

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ncchemist eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Organic chemistry is literally everywhere on this planet, from the sky to the land and underwater.  And all life is based on it.  Carbon is one of the most common elements on Earth, and it's atomic and electronic properties allow it to be an incredibly versatile element that can make a wide variety of bonds with numerous other elements to give a nearly limitless variety of chemical combinations.

In human society, organic molecules are used in a variety of industries including foods, pharmaceuticals, fuels, and construction to name a few.  Alkanes include chemicals like propane, octane, and methane.  These are used extensively as fuels for things like automobile gasoline and home heating/cooking fuel.  Alcohols include chemicals like ethanol and isopropanol.  These are used as antiseptics and ethanol is a staple of the beverage industry (beer/wine).  Finally, carboxylic acids include a wide variety of chemicals including pharmaceuticals.  Aspirin, one of the oldest commercial drugs, contains a carboxylic acid.