1
$\begingroup$

What is the basis of naming the various isomers of hexachlorocyclohexane $\alpha$, $\beta$, $\gamma$, etc.? Here is a list of these isomers. Is it just random naming, or is it according to some convention?

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

I didn’t find anything definite. However, I found a PDF from the State’s Institution for Protection of the Enviroment in Baden-Württemberg (Landesanstalt für Umweltschutz) which gives me two or three relevant clues. Along with my intuition and a chat with a labmate, I conclude:

There is nothing systematic or conventionalised in the names of the isomers. They were likely named after the order in which they were isolated or their structures were determined.

Clues I used:

  • The $\unicode[Times]{x3B6}$, $\unicode[Times]{x3B7}$ and $\unicode[Times]{x3B8}$ isomers were synthesised last.
  • $\unicode[Times]{x3B1}$, $\unicode[Times]{x3B2}$ $\unicode[Times]{x3B3}$ and $\unicode[Times]{x3B4}$ were characterised first by a guy called Teunis van der Linden, after whom the active insecticide $\unicode[Times]{x3B3}$-hexachlorocyclohexane was named lindane.
  • Thereby concluding that $\unicode[Times]{x3B5}$ was discovered after $\unicode[Times]{x3B1}$ to $\unicode[Times]{x3B4}$.
| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.