Chemical Synthesis Ovens
Chemical synthesis is the construction or cooking of complex chemical compounds from simpler ones. It is the process by which many substances important to daily life are obtained. It is applied to all types of chemical compounds, but most syntheses are of organic molecules. Chemists synthesize chemical compounds that occur in nature in order to gain a better understanding of their structures. Synthesis also enables chemists to produce compounds that do not form naturally for research purposes. In industry, synthesis is used to make products in large quantity. In planning the route of chemical synthesis, chemists usually visualize the end product and work backwards toward increasingly simpler compounds.
For many compounds, it is possible to establish alternative synthetic routes. The ones actually used depend on many factors, such as cost and availability of starting materials, the amount of energy needed to make the reaction proceed at a satisfactory rate, and the cost of separating and purifying the end products. A goal in planning a chemical synthesis is to find reactions that will affect only one part of the molecule, leaving other parts unchanged. Another goal is to produce high yields of the desired product in as short a time as possible. Often, reactions in a synthesis compete, reducing the yield of a desired product. Competition can also lead to the formation of side products which can be difficult to separate from the main one. The rate of a chemical reaction generally increases with temperature; chemical syntheses are thus often carried out at elevated temperatures. Hence heating in by various means forms one of the important process conditions