What Is the Skeletal Formula?


Quick Answer

A skeletal formula shows the carbon skeleton of a molecule. It is a two-dimensional representation of the bonds between carbon atoms and bonds between functional groups.

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Full Answer

A skeletal formula does not depict the actual carbon or hydrogen atoms in the formula, but it instead depicts the bonds between these elements. The formula is used by chemists to map out organic, carbon-based molecules. The skeletal formula can consist of branches, chains or rings of bonded atoms. The skeletal formula is a technique that is highly used in organic chemistry because of its simplicity. The inventor of the skeletal formula was Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz, a German organic chemist.

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