Organic Chemistry


At the end of this curricular unit the students should have the knowledge and skills that allow them to:

Use quantum mechanics to predict the periodic properties of atoms and the structure and properties of molecules.

Use the valence bond theory (VBT), the molecular orbital theory (MOT), and the frontier orbital theory (FOT) to predict the structure and reactivity of molecules.

Use conventional chemical diagrams to describe the mechanisms of chemical reactions.

Predict the acidity, basicity, nucleophilicity, and electrophilicity of organic compounds.

Based on MOT and FOT, predict the chemical reactivity of the carbonyl group in nucleophilic additions and substitutions, with and without catalysis.

Attribute the proper chemical nomenclature to the most common organic compound families and classify them according the stereochemistry rules.

Identify first and second order nucleophilic substitution reactions and predict their stereochemistry.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

António Gil de Oliveira Santos, Eurico José da Silva Cabrita


Weekly - 4

Total - 63

Teaching language



Os alunos devem possuir conhecimentos básicos de Teoria Atómica e Ligação Química.


Suggested bibliography:   

Clayden, J.; Greeves, N.; Warren, S.; Wothers, P. “Organic Chemistry”, Oxford University Press, 1st Ed., 2001.

Other bibliographic sources:

Volhardt, K.; Schore, N.E. “Organic Chemistry”, W.H. Freeman & Co., 3ª Ed., 1999.

Chemical Structure and Bonding, R. L. Deckock, H. B. Gray, University Science Books, Sausalito, California,1989

Teaching method

This subject is divided in theoretic-practical (TP) classes (2 x 1.5 week hours) and practical classes (1.5 week hours). The practical classes, in a total of 21 hours, are divided in laboratorial classes (12 hours) and classes in a computer room (9 hours). The laboratorial classes aim to teach the students the most important laboratorial techniques used in organic synthesis, which are illustrated with the synthesis of several carbonyl compounds. The classes in a computer room aim to illustrate, with the use of molecular modeling software packages, several concepts taught in the TP classes, as atomic and molecular orbitals, chemical reactivity based on the Frontier Orbital Theory, transition states, stereochemistry, etc. 

Evaluation method

To be approved in the curricular unit the students have to reach a minimum averaged grade of 9.5 values (scale of 20). This value is obtained by the averaged summation of the theoretic-practical (80%) with the practical grade (20%). However, the students have to reach a minimum grade of 9.0 values (scale of 20) in the theoretic-practical classes and a minimum grade of 8.0 values (scale of 20) in the practical classes.

Subject matter

1. From atoms to molecules

Concept of chemical bond. Valence bond theory (VBT). Orbital molecular theory (OMT). Rationalization of the chemical reactivity of small molecules by VBT and OMT.

1.1. Structure of organic compounds

Alkanes. Alkenes. Aromatics. Alkynes. Most important functional groups with heteroatoms. Stereochemistry. Polyfunctional molecules.

2. Reactivity of the carbonyl group

Frontier orbital theory (FOT). Concepts of basicity, acidity, nucleophilicity and electrophilicity. Nucleophilic additions to carbonyl compounds. Thermodynamics and kinetics. Catalysis. Nucleophilic substitutions in carbonyl compounds.

2.1. Reactivity of functional groups with simple bonds

SN1 and SN2 reactions. Structure and chemical reactivity. Stereochemistry associated to SN1 and SN2 reaction mechanisms.

2.2. Reactivity of other functional groups with multiple bonds

Addition reactions to double and triple bonds. Addition reactions to conjugated systems. Diastereoselectivity and regioselectivity.


Programs where the course is taught: