Alcohol, phenol, ether are classes of organic compounds which find wide usage in a broad range of industries as well as for domestic purposes.
- Alcohol is formed when a saturated carbon atom is bonded to a hydroxyl (-OH) group.
- Phenol is formed when a hydrogen atom in a benzene molecule is replaced by the -OH group.
- Ether is formed when an oxygen atom is connected to two alkyl or aryl groups.
In this section, we will discuss how alcohols, phenol’s and ethers are classified.
Classification of Alcohol
Depending on the number of hydroxyl groups attached, alcohols can be classified into three types.
- Monohydric alcohols: They contain one -OH group. Example, CH3CH2-OH
- Dihydric alcohols: They contain two -OH groups. Example, 1,2-Ethandiol.
- Trihydric alcohols: They contain three -OH groups. Example 1,2,3-Propantriol.
Depending on the number of carbon atoms which are directly attached to the carbon that is bonded with the -OH group, alcohols can be classified into three types.
- Primary alcohols: One carbon atom is directly attached.
- Secondary alcohols: Two carbon atoms are directly attached.
- Tertiary alcohols: Three carbon atoms are directly attached.
Classification of Phenol
Depending on the number of hydroxyl groups attached, phenols can be classified into three types.
- Monohydric phenols: They contain one -OH group.
- Dihydric phenols: They contain two -OH groups. They may be ortho-, meta- or para- derivative.
- Trihydric phenols: They contain three -OH groups.
Classification of Ether
Depending on the type of the alkyl or aryl groups attached to the oxygen atom in ether, it can be classified into two types.
- Symmetrical ether: Also known as the simple ether, the alkyl or the aryl group attached to either side of the oxygen atoms are the same. Examples are CH3OCH3, C2H5OC2H5, etc.
- Unsymmetrical ether: Also known as the mixed either, the alkyl or the aryl group attached to either side of the oxygen atoms, are not the same. Examples are CH3OC2H5, C2H5OC6H5, etc.
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