An infographic showing a range of functional groups in organic chemistry, including their names, how molecules containing them are named, and some example names.
Click to enlarge

Since I published my original functional groups chart back in 2014, I’ve had a fair few requests to expand it to include more functional groups. This week, I finally got around to doing that!

While this chart still doesn’t claim to be exhaustive, it contains almost double the number of functional groups as the original chart (40 vs. 21). In particular, sulfur-containing functional groups are much better represented, and a few additional nitrogen-containing groups have crept in.

The purpose of this chart will be clear if you’ve got a background in chemistry. If you haven’t, it’s a useful tool to decode the different parts that make up molecules in organic chemistry.

All carbon-based (organic) molecules contain functional groups – some more than one of them – and they’re what gives molecules their particular reactivity. At a simple level, molecules with a certain functional group can be predicted to react in similar ways with other substances. Organic molecules are featured in many of the site’s graphics – see if you can spot any of these functional groups in previous posters!

I’m always open to further revisions, so if there’s a functional group that’s missing that you think should be included, let me know in the comments below.

Enjoy Compound Interest’s posts? Consider supporting Compound Interest on Patreon!

The graphic in this article is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. See the site’s content usage guidelines.