Condensed Structures

What if you want to describe a molecule, but you have nothing but a keyboard? (No fancy pictures or drawings). This is was actually a big dilemma in the chemistry world, which is why we now have condensed structure. 

Condensed Rules

The condensed structure shows us the connectivity of the molecule. The use of parentheses is important:

  • Parentheses with no subscripts: Branch on the chain.
  • Parenthesis with subscripts: Multiple branches on a chain.
  • CH2 within parentheses + subscripts: Repeating CH2 units within a chain.

Condensed Mixed Structures

This is similar to normal condensed structure, except there is a bondline ringed component. Always draw your condensed letters in terms of connectivity!

  • If to the right of the ring: Draw branch normally.
  • If to the left of the ring: Draw branch in reverse.  

Problem: Convert the condensed structure into a bondline structure 


Remember, the exact direction of your zig-zag pattern doesn’t matter as long as everything is connected correctly. Single bonds can rotate freely, so let’s not spend lots of time worrying about the exact angles you drew.