Will you be my Friend?
Carbon seems to be a very friendly element. So far we have been looking at compounds of carbon and hydrogen. But carbon also forms bonds with other elements such as halogens, oxygen, nitrogen and sulphur. In a hydrocarbon chain, one or more hydrogens can be replaced by these elements, such that the valency of carbon remains satisfied. In such compounds, the element replacing hydrogen is referred to as a heteroatom. These heteroatoms confer specific properties to the compound, regardless of the length and nature of the carbon chain and hence are called functional groups. Some important functional groups are given in the Table 4.3. Free valency or valencies of the group are shown by the single line.
The functional group is attached to the carbon chain through this valency by replacing one hydrogen atom or atoms.