Two primary divisions of carbocyclic compounds may be conveniently made: (I) those in which the carbon atoms are completely saturated - these are known by the generic term polymethylenes, their general formula being (CH 2), t: it will be noticed that they are isomeric with ethylene and its homologues; they differ, however, from this series in not containing a double linkage, but have a ringed structure; and (2) those containing fewer hydrogen atoms than suffice to saturate the carbon valencies - these are known as the aromatic compounds proper, or as benzene compounds, from the predominant part which benzene plays in their constitution.
Assuming the four valencies of the carbon atom to be directed from the centre of a regular tetrahedron towards its four corners, the angle at which they meet.
Considering the hydrocarbons given by the general formula C x H y, the internal linkages of the carbon atoms need at least xi bonds, using up 2(xI) valencies of the 4x to be accounted for, and thus leaving no more than 2(x-11) for binding hydrogen: a compound C 3 H 9 is therefore impossible, and indeed has never been met.
The solution came abOut by arranging the elements in the order of their atomic weights, tempering the arrangement with the results deduced from the theory of valencies and experimental observations.
Claus maintained that Baeyer's view was identical with his own, for as in Baeyer's formula, the fourth valencies have a different function from the peripheral valencies, being united at the centre in a form of potential union.
Other hydrocarbon nuclei generally classed as aromatic in character result from the union of two or more benzene nuclei joined by one or two valencies with polymethylene or oxidized polymethylene rings; instances of such nuclei are indene, hydrindene, fluorene, and fluoranthene.
From the fact that reduction products containing either one or two double linkages behave exactly as unsaturated aliphatic compounds, being readily reduced or oxidized, and combining with the halogen elements and haloid acids, it seems probable that in benzenoid compounds the fourth valencies are symmetrically distributed in such a manner as to induce a peculiar stability in the molecule.
Three such compounds are possible according to the number of valencies acting directly between the carbon atoms. Thus, if they are connected by one valency, and the remaining valencies saturated by hydrogen, we obtain the compound H 3 C CH 3, ethane.
In general, therefore, it may be considered that the double linkages are not of exactly the same nature as the double linkage present in ethylene and ethylenoid compounds, but that they are analogous to the potential valencies of benzene.
The ringed structure of benzene, C 6 H 61 was first suggested in 1865 by August Kekule, who represented the molecule by six CH groups placed at the six angles of a regular hexagon, the sides of which denoted the valencies saturated by adjacent carbon atoms, the fourth valencies of each carbon atom being represented as saturated along alternate sides.