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What are ketones?

A compound with a carbonyl group (O=C) linked to two other carbon atoms in the  chemical compound. The C=O is found somewhere in the middle of the chain (not the end). Three carbons are needed to form a ketone.


changing the suffix -e of the parent alkane to -one

Propanone is normally written CH3COCH3. Notice the need for numbering in the longer ketones. In pentanone, the carbonyl group could be in the middle of the chain or next to the end - giving either pentan-3-one (3-pentanone) or pentan-2-one (2-pentanone).

Examples- to see the names highlight name to left of structure

Name Condensed Structures
propanone CH3COCH3
butanone CH3COCH2CH3
2-pentanone CH3COCH2CH2CH3
3-pentanone CH3CH2COCH2CH3
2-hexanone CH3COCH2CH2CH2CH3


Name Expanded Structures


Ketones can be created by oxidation of secondary alcohols. The process requires a strong oxidizing agent.

H3C-CH(OH)-CH3 + ox. agent→ H3C-CO-CH3

on to Ethers

back to Organic Links

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