Configuration

In organic chemistry configuration means time-independent relative disposition of atoms and groups in space within a molecular species.

eg:



Compounds 1 and 2 have the same atoms: two carbon atoms, two hydrogen atoms, and two chlorine atoms.  They have the same connectivity: each carbon atom is doublly bonded to the other and bears a hydrogen atom and a chlorine atom.  However, in 1 the two hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bond; so are the two chlorine atoms.  In 2 the two hydrogen atoms are on the opposite sides of the double bond; so are the two chlorine atoms.  Since there is no free rotation around a double bond, the above relationships of atoms in 1 and 2 do not change with time.  In other words, 1 and 2 can not be interconverted by rotation around the double bond.  Compounds 1 and 2 are said to have different configurations.

see also conformation

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