The skeletal structure of an organic compound is the series of atoms bonded together that form the essential structure of the compound. The skeleton can consist of chains, branches and/or rings of bonded atoms. Skeletal atoms other than carbon or hydrogen are called "heteroatoms".
The skeleton has hydrogen and/or various substituents bonded to its atoms. Hydrogen is the most common non-carbon atom that is bonded to carbon and, for simplicity, is not explicitly drawn. In addition, carbon atoms are not generally labeled as such directly (i.e. with a "C"), whereas heteroatoms are always explicitly noted as such (i.e. using "N" for nitrogen, "O" for oxygen, etc.)
Heteroatoms and other groups of atoms that give rise to relatively high rates of chemical reactivity, or introduce specific and interesting characteristics in the spectra of compounds are called functional groups, as they give the molecule a function. Heteroatoms and functional groups are known collectively as "substituents", as they are considered to be a substitute for the hydrogen atom that would be present in the parent hydrocarbon of the organic compound in question.
Read more about this topic: Skeletal Formula
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Famous quotes containing the word skeleton:
“Grammar is a tricky, inconsistent thing. Being the backbone of speech and writing, it should, we think, be eminently logical, make perfect sense, like the human skeleton. But, of course, the skeleton is arbitrary, too. Why twelve pairs of ribs rather than eleven or thirteen? Why thirty-two teeth? It has something to do with evolution and functionalismbut only sometimes, not always. So there are aspects of grammar that make good, logical sense, and others that do not.”
—John Simon (b. 1925)
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—Amelia Edwards (18311892)