NextPrevious

Organic Chemistry

Structures and Nomenclature

Are all the carbon-carbon bonds in benzene the same length?

Yes, but you might not think so by looking at a single line structure of benzene. The actual structure of benzene is a combination of two structures, shown below. In technical terms, the electrons in the p bonds are delocalized (spread out) by resonance. The drawing convention that chemists use to represent molecular structure just can’t display this properly in a single structure. The electrons do not move from one place to another, and the carbon-carbon bonds do not oscillate between long and short—the structure is an average of these two drawings. After all, a molecule of benzene doesn’t really care that we can’t properly draw it.

Image

Sometimes, you might see benzene drawn with a single circle in the center, representing the delocalization of the π-electrons.



Close

This is a web preview of the "The Handy Chemistry Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App