Thiol

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In organic chemistry, a thiol is a organosulfur compound that contains a carbon-bonded sulfhydryl (-C-SH or R-SH) group (where R represents an alkane, alkene, or other carbon-containing moiety). Thiols are the sulfur analogue of alcohols, and the word is a portmanteau of "thio" + "alcohol," with the first word deriving from Greek θειον ("thion") = "sulfur". The -SH functional group itself is referred to as either a thiol group or a sulfhydryl group.

Many thiols have strong odours resembling that of garlic. They are used as odourants to assist in the detection of natural gas (which in pure form is odourless), and the "smell of natural gas" is in fact due to the smell of the thiol used as the odourant.

Thiols are often referred to as mercaptans.[1][2] The term mercaptan is derived from the Latin mercurium captans (capturing mercury)[3] because the thiolate group bonds so strongly with mercury compounds.

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Structure and bonding

Thiols and alcohols have similar molecular structure. The major difference is the size of the chalcogenide, C-S bond lengths being around 180 picometers in length. The C-S-H angles approach 90°. In the solid or molten liquids, the hydrogen-bonding between individual thiol groups is weak, the main cohesive force being van der Waals interactions between the highly polarizable divalent sulfur centers.

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