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Haloalkanes and Haloarenes

Classification and Nomenclature


  • Based on number of halogen atoms

    • Monohalogen
    • Dihalogen
    • Polyhalogen (tri-, tetra-, penta- etc.)
    • Examples of haloalkanes:

  • Examples of haloarenes:

  • Compounds containing sp3 C−X bond (X = F, Cl, Br, I)

(i) Alkyl halides or haloalkanes (R−X) They form homologous series of general formula CnH2n+1X. They are further classified into primary, secondary, and tertiary.

(ii) Allylic halides Compounds containing halogen atom bonded to an allylic carbon

(iii) Benzylic halides Compounds containing halogen atom bonded to an sp3 hybridised carbon atom next to an aromatic ring

To test your knowledge of this concept, solve the following puzzle.

  • Compounds containing sp2 C−X bond (X = F, Cl, Br, I)

(i) Vinylic halides Compounds containing halogen atom bonded to a vinylic carbon

(ii) Aryl halides Compounds containing halogen atom bonded to an sp2 hybridised carbon atom of an aromatic ring


  • For haloalkanes

  • Common name Name of alkyl group followed by name of the halide

  • IUPAC name Named as halo-substituted hydrocarbon in IUPAC

  • Examples:


Common Name



n−Butyl bromide


Isobutyl chloride


sec-butyl bromide



sec-Butyl chloride



neo-Pentyl bromide



tert-Butyl bromide



Methylene chloride


  • For haloarenes

  • Named as halo-substituted hydrocarbon (for both common and IUPAC name)

  • For dihalogen derivatives:

In common names prefixes o-, m-, p- are used

In IUPAC names numerals 1, 2; 1, 3; 1, 4 are used

  • Examples:


Common name

IUPAC name











Benzyl chloride


Nature of C−X bond

  • C-atom bears partial positive charge and X-atom bears partial negative charge.

  • C−X bond length increases down the group.

  • Reason − Size of halogen atom increases down the group.

    Stability of carbocation:

    Carbocations are the chemical species which have positive charge on carbon atom and carry six electrons in the valence shell. Carbocation has a planar geometry (sp2-hybridisation). The carbocation has flat structure having all the three covalent bonds in one plane with bond angle of 1200 between them. Carbocations are highly reactive intermediate species, they have an inherent positive charge and thus always in the search for electrons, which tells us about their high reactivity. Carbocations are electron-deficient intermediates figure out prominently in many reactions of organic chemistry, such as

  • Nucleophilic substitution  (SN1) and Elimination  (E1) reactions
  • Additions of electrophiles to double and triple bonds
  • Electrophilic aromatic substitution
  • Additions to carbonyl compounds 
Carbocation can be stabilised by following ways:

1) Increasing substiuents: The stability of carbocations increases as we go from primary to secondary to tertiary carbons. 

There are two ways by which carbocation can be stabilised:

a) Inductive effect:  The permanent displacement of electrons towards the more electronegative atom or group of atoms in a covalent bond is called an inductive effect.
Inductive effect is classified into two types as follows.

-I effect: Electron withdrawing substituents tend to attract electron pair, due to which carbon to which substituent is attached carries positive charge. This effect is called as negative inductive effect and the groups which cause this effect are called as -I groups. For example- NO2, hologens.
+I effect:—Electron donating substituents tend to donate shared electron pair towards the carbon to which that group is connected. Hence, carbon bears partial negative charge, this is known as positive inductive effect and the groups which cause such effect are called as +I groups. For example- alkyl groups.

Due to +I effect of methyl group the positive charge on carbon atom decreases and more the number of alkyl groups, the greater the dispersal of positive charge and therefore, more the stability of carbocation.

b)Hyperconjugation : It involves stabilization through donation of the electrons in C-H sigma bonds to the empty p-orbital of the carbocation. Carbocations are stabilized by adjacent groups that can donate electron density. The positive charge is spread out or delocalised and this stabilising effect is called no-bond resonance. The most common example is alkyl groups. Alkyl groups are electron donating group, since, they have C-H bonds that can be end up donating electrons to the adjacent carbocation. Due to which carbocation stability increases as we go from primary to secondary to tertiary carbo…

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