An organic compound is a molecular compound with a backbone consisting of carbon and hydrogen atoms (ex: CH4, CH3OH, CH3COOH). All other molecular compounds are inorganic (ex: CO, CO2). Organic compounds are either natural (occurring in nature) or synthetic (man-made).
Organic compounds that contain only carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms are called hydrocarbons. There are three types:
- aliphatic hydrocarbons
- chains and rings (includes alkanes, alkenes, and alkynes)
- aromatic hydrocarbons
- rings with alternating single and double bonds (benzene)
- hydrocarbon derivatives
- hydrocarbons with atoms other than carbon and hydrogen