Structural Formula: Definition & Examples


Structural Formula

The structural formula of a compound is a drawing that indicates which atoms are connected to which connectivities. Several kinds of structural formulas are used to represent organic compounds: dot formulas (Lewis structures), dash formulas, condensed formulas, combination (of dash and condensed) formulas, and bond-line formulas.

“A Structural Formula is a two dimensional structural representation that shows how the various atoms in a molecule are bonded to each other.”Two types of Structural Formula are depicted below.

An Expanded Structural Formula is a structural formula that show all atoms in a molecule and all bonds connecting the atoms. A Condense Structural Formula is that it uses grouping of atoms in which central atoms and the atoms connected to them are written as a group to convey molecular structural information.

Structural Problems

Solved problems based on structural formula are given below.

Solved Examples

Question 1: The linear alkane that contains four carbon atoms is called butane. Draw the structural formula of butane.

Start by drawing a skeleton that contains four carbon atoms.

Then add enough bonds so that each carbon atom forms a total of four bonds and add hydrogen atoms to complete the structure.

Question 2: Draw the condensed structural formula of propane.


List each carbon atom in the molecule and then add the hydrogen atoms that are bonded to each carbon.

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