Identification of functional groups

Portfolio Activity!

What are my objectives while studying this topic?

While studying this topic you’ll learn:

  • How to describe a chemical test that will distinguish a functional group from any other group of compounds

  • How to carry out such a test, giving the results that you would expect

  • How to write a risk assessment for each procedure used

  • How to identify unknown organic chemicals

  • How to analyse and evaluate data obtained and procedures used

Can I get an introduction to this topic?

Yes, why not have a look at the following clips:

What are the key words to learn and use?

  • Hydrolysis

  • Tollen’s reagent

  • Fehling’s reagent

  • Brady’s reagent

  • Bromine water

How long will this topic take to study?

Remember, this is a portfolio activity so you’ll be looking at about ten hours of study time.

What are the main activities on this topic?


Download the organic chemical tests. In pairs test each other on the tests from memory.


Discovering chemical tests for functional group identification

For the functional group you’ve chosen you’ll need to find a test that distinguishes it from all of the other groups.

Suitable tests can be found in the textbook Practical Work for Chemistry, Andrew Hunt; Hodder & Stoughton 2004, ISBN 0340886722, pages 76 – 80.

Note:It is not a portfolio requirement to provide detailed Standard Procedures, but you will need to provide brief details of reagents and methods. You’ll get some credit if you include evidence of your own research in the final portfolio piece.

Also, you’ll be given the opportunity to carry out these tests and record the expected results. You’ll get some credit if you show evidence of research.

You’ll be given three compounds to identify using your studied methods. The three compounds should come from:

  • A list of 7/8 possible compounds made up from those groups described in the WJEC GCE Applied Science Specification, page 47 – this should be prepared by your teacher and given to all students.

  • Those compounds that the student has decided to carry out research into.

Once the compounds have been identified, you’ll need to write up all experiments for your portfolio report.

What will I be expected to do toward my portfolio work in my own time?

You’ll be expected to complete sections of work. Examples might include:

  • Research on scientific principles

  • Risk Assessment

  • Tabulation of Results

  • Calculations

  • Interpretation & Conclusions

  • Completion of report

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