How to Read a Molecule’s Skeletal Structure

glycineSince this isn’t in the textbook, here are the rules we’ll discuss and apply in class for reading the skeletal structures of molecules.

  1. Every place where lines (which represent covalent bonds) meet, there’s a carbon.
  2. Every place where lines end, there a carbon.
  3. And those carbons have the appropriate number of hydrogens bonded to them to satisfy the Octet Rule for carbon.

Try using these rules to draw out the full molecular structure of glycine (an amino acid, a kind of molecule we’ll talk about in the next part of the course) from its skeletal structure shown here. Then click on the “Continue reading” link to check your structure with a ball-and-stick depiction of glycine. 

522px-Glycine-3D-balls

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