Introduction to Mechanisms
Inorganic reactions can be divided into four categories, namely: redox, acid/ base, precipitation and complexation. By considering complexation reactions as the first stage towards precipitation, and further by considering complexation reactions as a type of acid/base reaction, it is possible to reduce this number to two fundamental categories for inorganic reactions. Organic reaction mechanisms can similarly be reduced to a small number of fundamental reaction types, namely: substitution, addition, elimination, rearrangement and redox reactions. In contrast, in organic chemistry there seems to be an enormously large number of reactions that are possible. Furthermore, many of these, particularly at first sight, seem to be unique and seemingly unrelated to any other example. This gives the initial impression that organic chemistry is incapable of being readily rationalised into a small number of principal reaction types like inorganic chemistry.