A-Level Chemistry

Optical Isomerism in Hydroxynitriles

In this video, we look at how hydroxynitriles can show optical isomerism. First we look at how producing hydroxynitriles from aldehydes will always lead to optical isomerism in the hydroxynitrile. We then see why hydroxynitriles produced from ketones only show optical isomerism if the starting ketone is asymmetric. Finally, we explore why we make a racemic mixture and explain this by looking at the reaction mechanism.