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Carboxylic Acid Formula

Last updated date: 15th Apr 2024
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COOH Chemical Name

An organic substance with a carboxyl functional group is known as carboxylic acid. They can be found in abundance in nature and are also synthesised by humans. Carboxylic acids deprotonate to produce a carboxylate anion with the general formula R-COO–, which can be used to make a variety of useful salts like soaps.

C=O contains carboxylic acids, which are the most significant functional group. Some carboxylic acids, such as citric acid, lactic acid, or fumaric acid, are created via fermentation, and the majority of these carboxylic acids are used in the food industry.

This article will study the carboxylic acid formula, carboxylic acid structure and COOH chemical name in detail.

Carboxylic Acid Structure

A carboxylic acid's general formula is R-COOH, where the COOH formula denotes the carboxyl group and R denotes the rest of the molecule to which this group is linked. There is carbon in this carboxyl group that has a double connection with an oxygen atom and a single bond with a hydroxyl group.

A carboxylic acid structure is depicted below.

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The carboxylic acid structural formula contains a hydroxyl group connected to a carbonyl carbon, as can be seen in the carboxylic acid structure. This functional group can undergo ionisation and discharge a proton due to the electronegativity of the oxygen atom.

The presence of two oxygen atoms stabilises the carboxylate ion, which is formed when a proton is removed from the carboxyl formula (through which the negative charge can move). Acetic acid (a component of vinegar) and Formic acid are two examples of carboxylic acids.

Nomenclature of Carboxylic Acid General Formula

These chemical compounds are commonly referred to by their common names, which include the suffix "-ic acid." Acetic acid is an example of a carboxylic acid with a common name (CH3COOH). The suffix "-oic acid" is allocated to these substances in IUPAC nomenclature.

  • The IUPAC nomenclature of carboxylic acids has a set of rules that must be adhered to.

  • The suffix "e" is replaced with "oic acid" in the name of the matching alkane.

  • When there is only one carboxyl group in an aliphatic chain, the carboxylic carbon is always numbered one. Ethanoic acid, for example, is named after CH3COOH.

  • The total number of carbon atoms in an aliphatic chain with more than one carboxyl group is counted, and the number of carboxyl groups is denoted by Greek numeral prefixes such as "di-," "tri-," and so on.

  • These prefixes and suffixes are added to the parent alkyl chain to give the carboxylic acid its name. The locations of the carboxyl group are shown in Arabic numerals.

  • A carboxyl substituent on a carbon chain can also be called "carboxylic acid" or "carboxy." The name 2-carbofuran for the chemical 2-Furoic acid is an example of such nomenclature.

Properties of Carboxylic Acid 

1. Physical Properties 

  • Due to the existence of two electronegative oxygen atoms, carboxylic acid molecules are polar.

  • Due to the presence of the carbonyl group (C=O) and the hydroxyl group, they also participate in hydrogen bonding.

  • These compounds form dimers when put in nonpolar liquids due to hydrogen bonding between the hydroxyl group of one carboxylic acid and the carbonyl group of the other.

  • The solubility of carboxyl functional group-containing compounds in water is proportional to their size. The higher the solubility, the smaller the compound (the shorter the R group).

  • A carboxylic acid's boiling point is usually greater than that of water.

  • These chemicals are Bronsted-Lowry acids because they have the potential to give protons.

  • They have a strong sour odour in general. Their esters, on the other hand, have a pleasant odour and are utilised in perfumes.

2. Chemical Properties

  • The Hell-Volhard-Zelinsky reaction makes it simple to halogenate the -carbon of a carboxylic acid.

  • The Schmidt reaction can be used to convert these compounds into amines.

  • A carboxylic acid can be converted to alcohol by causing a hydrogenation reaction with hydrogen.

  • These chemicals produce esters when they react with alcohol.

Applications of Molecular Formula of Carboxylic Acid

  1. Carboxylic acids are the building blocks of fatty acids, which are necessary for human health. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are two examples.

  2. Soaps made with higher fatty acids are also popular.

  3. Many carboxylic acids are used in the making of soft drinks and other food products.

  4. Acetic acid is used as a coagulant in the production of rubber.

  5. The chemical hexanedioic acid is used to make nylon-6,6.

  6. Carboxylic acids are used in a variety of industries, including rubber, textiles, and leather.

  7. Chelating agent ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid is commonly used.

  8. These chemicals are used in the production of numerous medications.

  9. These chemicals are used in the production of numerous medications. As a result, carboxylic acids play a crucial role in medications.

  10. Compounds with the carboxyl functional group are used in the manufacture of various polymers.


A carboxylic acid is an organic compound with a carboxyl functional group. They're abundant in nature and can also be synthesised by humans. Carboxylic acids deprotonate to yield the carboxylate anion R-COO–, which can be used to manufacture a variety of useful salts such as soaps.

The carboxylic acid formula is R-COOH, where COOH signifies the carboxyl group and R specifies the rest of the molecule to which this group is attached. This carboxyl group has a carbon with a double bond to an oxygen atom and a single bond to a hydroxyl group.

FAQs on Carboxylic Acid Formula

Q1: What is COOH Functional Group?

A carboxyl group (COOH) is a functional group that consists of a carbonyl group (C=O) connected to the same carbon atom as a hydroxyl group (O-H). Carboxylic acids are a type of molecule defined by the presence of a single carboxyl group.

Q2: Why Do Carboxylic Acids Have Such a Foul Odour?

The scents of carboxylic acids with 5 to 10 carbon atoms are all "goaty" (explaining the odour of Limburger cheese). These acids are also created by skin bacteria acting on human sebum (skin oils), which accounts for the stink of locker rooms with poor ventilation.

Q3: What is a Carboxylic Acid Example?

A carbon atom is doubly bound to an oxygen atom and also linked to an OH group in carboxylic acids. Formic acid (a), acetic acid (b), propionic acid (c), and butyric acid (d) are the four acids depicted here. Pentanoic acid, for example, is a carboxylic acid produced from pentane (CH3CH2CH2CH2COOH).