Return to Contents Chapter 7 : Stereochemistry Ch 7 contents
Implications in Reactions To appreciate this, think of your hands or feet. They interact with achiral objects without any difference in comfort between the two, but with a chiral object, they feel different..... can't you tell when you have got your shoes on the wrong feet ?

As examples, carbocations and alkenes which are both planar are attacked from either face in equal amounts generating racemic product mixtures.  This is because the faces of the systems are equivalent and there is nothing to distinguish them.

Research into reactions or methods for performing syntheses of single stereoisomers is very important due to requirement to produce optically pure pharmaceutical products, especially where one enantiomer is more effective than the other (remember your body is full of chiral amino acids, enzymes and proteins...)

previous page
next page
organic chemistry © Dr. Ian Hunt, Department of Chemistry University of Calgary