The cycloalkane molecules are displayed initially as "wireframe" models to make it easier to see the shape of the ring. Click the appropriate buttons to get "space-filling" models (better for seeing where atoms are close enough together to repel one another), or to highlight specific sets of atoms. Rotate the models using the mouse; you can return each model to its original orientation at any time by clicking the "Reset" button.
Exercises to do with these models:
- View the molecules as wireframe models, and practice drawing them on paper - which orientations are represented in your textbook? Practice until you are able to look at the pictures in your textbook and imagine the three-dimensional molecules.
- Identify axial/equatorial/flagpole/eclipsing hydrogens in each conformation before clicking the button that will highlight them. This will be easiest using the wireframe model; practice drawing them again, with attention to making clear the axial and equatorial bonds.
- Compare the spacefilling models of the chair and boat conformations of cyclohexane. Can you see the origin of the higher energy of the latter (repulsions)?
(Note: Sets of H's are color-coded for clarity.)