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I have come across 6-element rings, 5-element rings, but very rarely 3,4, or 7,8, etc. -element rings. I am not sure of the reason for the rarity of other rings than 5 or 6. Is it just what I have encountered so far do not include non-5/6 rings a whole lot, or is it because of some reasons that there just are not that many non-5/6 rings around?

Edit: The rings I am referring to include both same-element (e.g. benzene, octasulfur, etc.) and different-element (e.g. glucose, fructose, etc.) ones.


marked as duplicate by Mithoron, airhuff, pentavalentcarbon, Nilay Ghosh, Ivan Neretin Nov 3 '17 at 5:16

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    $\begingroup$ related chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/16859/… $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Nov 2 '17 at 23:10
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    $\begingroup$ It sounds like you're asking about rings made up of different numbers of atoms, not different numbers of elements. Is that correct? $\endgroup$ – jerepierre Nov 2 '17 at 23:17
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    $\begingroup$ Looking at the title my first association was octasulfur $\ce{S8}$. $\endgroup$ – andselisk Nov 3 '17 at 0:19

Rings are known in all sorts of sizes. It's just that five- and six-atom rings are most stable under Earthly conditions. Things are different "out there", as in three-membered ring species appearing in interstellar space (http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1086/501121/meta) and in the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032063313001864). Might such species be precursors to some of the organic compounds we know and love here?

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    $\begingroup$ Not to mention Saturn have rings on its own. $\endgroup$ – andselisk Nov 2 '17 at 23:32

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