I am looking for a list of classes of synthetic organic chemicals. I'm not very strong in chemistry. The only information I could find are from here which seem to describe SOC's are like pesticides or fuel additives, but I don't think you can call those classes.

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    $\begingroup$ I think this question is probably too vague to answer in a way both satisfactory to you and useful to a general audience. Can you be more specific about what you mean by "class" w/r/t chemicals? Do you mean by priority functional group (per, say, IUPAC), by industrial/consumer/medical applications, etc.? As the answer from Williham Totland suggests, organic chemistry is a huge field, and the focus of your question needs to be much narrower. $\endgroup$
    – Greg E.
    May 28, 2014 at 7:58

1 Answer 1


There are a lot of organic chemicals[citation needed].

Due to the incomprehensibly vast number of chemical species and variation between them, almost every classification system is domain-specific.

In terms of pure chemistry, the best you can do is usually to organize them according to what functional groups are in play; this will usually reveal something about the fundamental chemical interactions available to the species in question, but this is not necessarily useful or enlightening:

In many applications, such as as antifreeze, fuel or a solvent, methanol and ethanol are (largely) interchangeable: They both have short carbon chains attached to a single alcohol group (-OH), their boiling points, dipole moments, chemical energy and other properties are similar, and they mostly react in the same way on a chemical level.

In other applications, however, they are as night and day: In biology, methanol is a potent poison, and ethanol is a mostly harmless intoxicant.

Organic chemistry is, in short, notoriously resilient to generally useful classification systems.


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