VISUALIZING THE MECHANISMS OF ORGANIC REACTIONS
The chemical reactions involve the collision between a large numbers of reactant molecules moving around rapidly in a random way. Molecules will be colliding with each other in different angles and speed. Most of the time they will bump each other, but only the collisions, with the right orientation and enough energy will produce a product. Electrons on the surface of the molecules take part in the reactions leading to a change of connectivity within the atoms of the molecules. Understanding which bonds is broken and formed and in what order, lead to an understanding of chemical reactivity. Reaction mechanism is a way of show how chemical reactions happens at the molecular level, how many steps are involved and which steps are faster than others. Using several Molecular Modeling programs we have animated several reaction mechanism of the most important reaction in Organic Chemistry, in order to provide a learning tool to the students to foster their knowledge of the several events taking place in a reaction. The use of 3D helps in the understanding of the details of the reactions. These tools are aimed to students at the first year of University courses at the Faculty of Chemistry at UNAM.
This work was partially supported by a grant from Dirección General de Asuntos del Personal Académico (DGAPA) Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México PE205313.