representation with double and single linkages generally represents the syntheses, decompositions, &c.; exceptions, however, are known where it is necessary to assume an oscillation of the double linkage. Five- and six-membered rings are the most stable and important, the last-named group resulting from the polymerization of many substances; three- and four-membered rings are formed with difficulty, and are easily ruptured; rings containing seven or more members are generally unstable, and are relatively little known. The elements which go to form heterocyclic rings, in addition to carbon, are oxygen, sulphur, selenium and nitrogen. It is remarkable that sulphur can replace two methine or CH groups with the production of compounds greatly resembling, the original one. Thus benzene, (CH)6, gives thiophene, (CH)4S, from which it is difficultly distinguished; pyridine, (CH)5N, gives thiazole, (CH)3·N·S, which is a very similar substance; naphthalene gives thionaphthen, C8H6S, with which it shows great analogies, especially in the derivatives. Similarly a CH group may be replaced by a nitrogen atom with the production of compounds of similar stability; thus benzene gives pyridine, naphthalene gives quinoline and isoquinoline; anthracene gives acridine and α and β anthrapyridines. Similarly, two or more methine groups may be replaced by the same number of nitrogen atoms with the formation of rings of considerable stability.
Most of the simple ring systems which contain two adjacent carbon atoms may suffer fusion with any other ring (also containing two adjacent carbon atoms) with the production of nuclei of greater complexity. Such condensed nuclei are, in many cases, more readily obtained than the parent nucleus. The more important types are derived from aromatic nuclei, benzene, naphthalene, &c.; the ortho-di-derivatives of the first named, lending themselves particularly to the formation of condensed nuclei. Thus ortho-phenylene diamine yields the following products:—
In some cases oxidation of condensed benzenoid-heterocyclic nuclei results in the rupture of the heterocyclic ring with the formation of a benzene dicarboxylic acid; but if the aromatic nucleus be weakened by the introduction of an amino group, then it is the benzenoid nucleus which is destroyed and a dicarboxylic acid of the heterocyclic ring system obtained.
Heterocyclic rings may be systematically surveyed from two aspects: (1) by arranging the rings with similar hetero-atoms according to the increasing number of carbon atoms, the so-called “homologous series”; or (2) by first dividing the ring systems according to the number of members constituting the ring, and then classifying these groups according to the nature of the hetero-atoms, the so-called “isologous series.” The second method possesses greater advantages, for rings of approximate stability come in one group, and, consequently, their derivatives may be expected to exhibit considerable analogies.
As a useful preliminary it is convenient to divide heterocyclic ring systems into two leading groups: (1) systems resulting from simple internal dehydration (or similar condensations) of saturated aliphatic compounds—such compounds are: the internal anhydrides or cyclic ethers of the glycols and thioglycols (ethylene oxide, &c.); the cyclic alkyleneimides resulting from the splitting off of ammonia between the amino groups of diamino-paraffins (pyrrolidine, piperazine, &c.); the cyclic esters of oxycarboxylic acids (lactones, lactides); the internal anhydrides of aminocarboxylic acids (lactams, betaines); cyclic derivatives of dicarboxylic acids (anhydrides, imides, alkylen-esters, alkylen-amides, &c.). These compounds retain their aliphatic nature, and are best classified with open-chain compounds, into which, in general, they are readily converted. (2) Systems which are generally unsaturated compounds, often of considerable stability, and behave as nuclei; these compounds constitute a well-individualized class exhibiting closer affinities to benzenoid substances than to the open-chain series.
The transition between the two classes as differentiated above may be illustrated by the following cyclic compounds, each of which contains a ring composed of four carbon atoms and one oxygen atom:
The first four substances are readily formed from, and converted into, the corresponding dihydroxy open-chain compound; these substances are truly aliphatic in character. The fifth compound, on the other hand, does not behave as an unsaturated aliphatic compound, but its deportment is that of a nucleus, many substitution derivatives being capable of synthesis. Reduction, however, converts it into an aliphatic compound. This is comparable with the reduction of the benzene nucleus into hexamethylene, a substance of an aliphatic character.
True ring systems, which possess the characters of organic nuclei, do not come into existence in three-and four-membered rings, their first appearance being in penta-atomic rings. The three primary members are furfurane, thiophene and pyrrol, each of which contains four methine or CH groups, and an oxygen, sulphur and imido (NH) member respectively; a series of compounds containing selenium is also known. The formulae of these substances are:
By substituting one or more CH groups in these compounds by nitrogen atoms, ring-systems, collectively known as azoles, result. Obviously, isomeric ring-systems are possible, since the carbon atoms in the original rings are not all of equal value. Thus furfurane yields the following rings by the introduction of one and two nitrogen atoms:
Thiophene yields a similar series: isothiazole (only known as the condensed ring, isobenzothiazole), thiazole, diazosulphides, piazthioles, azosulphimes and thiobiazole (the formulae are easily derived from the preceding series by replacing oxygen by sulphur). Thiophene also gives rise to triazsulphole, three nitrogen atoms being introduced. Selenophene gives the series: selenazole, diazoselenide and piaselenole, corresponding to oxazole, diazo-oxides and furazane. Pyrrol yields an analogous series: pyrazole, imidazole or glyoxaline, azimide or osotriazole, triazole and tetrazole:
Six-membered ring systems can be referred back, in a manner similar to the above, to pyrone, penthiophene and pyridine, the substances containing a ring of five carbon atoms, and an oxygen, sulphur and nitrogen atom respectively. As before, only true ring nuclei, and not internal anhydrides of aliphatic compounds, will be mentioned. From the pyrone ring the following series of compounds are derived (for brevity, the hydrogen atoms are not printed):
Penthiophene gives, by a similar introduction of nitrogen atoms, penthiazoline, corresponding to meta-oxazine, and para-thiazine,