Allyl vs. Vinyl

What's the Difference?

Allyl and vinyl are both organic functional groups that contain a double bond between carbon atoms. However, they differ in the arrangement of their atoms. Allyl has a three-carbon chain with the double bond between the central and end carbon atoms, while vinyl has a two-carbon chain with the double bond between the two carbon atoms. This structural difference leads to variations in their reactivity and chemical properties. Allyl groups are commonly found in organic compounds such as allyl alcohol and allyl chloride, and they are known for their ability to undergo allylic rearrangements. On the other hand, vinyl groups are present in compounds like vinyl chloride and vinyl acetate, and they are often involved in polymerization reactions. Overall, both allyl and vinyl groups play important roles in organic chemistry and have distinct characteristics that make them useful in various applications.


Chemical StructureCH2=CH-CH2-CH2=CH-
Functional GroupAllyl Group (-CH2-CH=CH2)Vinyl Group (-CH=CH2)
Number of Carbon Atoms32
Bond TypeDouble bond between the second and third carbon atomsDouble bond between the first and second carbon atoms
Common UsesUsed in organic synthesis, as a monomer in polymerization reactionsUsed in organic synthesis, as a monomer in polymerization reactions

Further Detail


Allyl and vinyl are two important functional groups in organic chemistry. They both contain unsaturated carbon-carbon double bonds, but they differ in their structures and properties. In this article, we will explore the attributes of allyl and vinyl, highlighting their similarities and differences.


Allyl and vinyl groups have distinct structural characteristics. The allyl group consists of a central carbon atom bonded to two other carbon atoms and one hydrogen atom. The remaining valence of the central carbon is occupied by a double bond with one of the adjacent carbon atoms. This arrangement forms a linear structure. On the other hand, the vinyl group consists of a central carbon atom bonded to two hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom. The double bond is formed between the central carbon and the adjacent carbon atom, resulting in a planar structure.

Physical Properties

When it comes to physical properties, both allyl and vinyl groups exhibit some similarities. They are both nonpolar, which means they do not readily dissolve in water. However, they are soluble in organic solvents such as ethanol and acetone. Additionally, both groups have relatively low boiling points due to the weak intermolecular forces between their molecules.

Despite these similarities, there are also notable differences in their physical properties. The allyl group is more bulky and has a higher molecular weight compared to the vinyl group. This results in a higher boiling point for allyl compounds. Furthermore, the linear structure of the allyl group allows for greater rotational freedom, making it more flexible compared to the planar vinyl group.

Chemical Reactivity

Both allyl and vinyl groups are highly reactive due to the presence of the carbon-carbon double bond. They readily undergo addition reactions to form new compounds. However, there are differences in their reactivity patterns.

The allyl group is known for its resonance stabilization, which makes it more stable compared to the vinyl group. This stability is attributed to the delocalization of the pi electrons across the three carbon atoms. As a result, allyl compounds are less prone to undergo addition reactions compared to vinyl compounds.

On the other hand, the vinyl group is more reactive due to its planar structure, which allows for efficient overlap of the p orbitals. This increased reactivity makes vinyl compounds more susceptible to addition reactions. Additionally, the vinyl group can undergo polymerization reactions to form vinyl polymers, which find applications in various industries.


Both allyl and vinyl groups have important applications in various fields.

Allyl compounds are commonly used in organic synthesis as building blocks for the preparation of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and fine chemicals. They are also utilized in the production of polymers, such as poly(allylamine) and poly(allyl alcohol), which find applications in coatings, adhesives, and textiles.

Vinyl compounds, on the other hand, have widespread applications in the polymer industry. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a vinyl polymer, is extensively used in construction materials, pipes, and electrical insulation. Vinyl acetate is another important compound used in the production of adhesives, coatings, and textiles.


In conclusion, allyl and vinyl groups share some similarities in terms of their unsaturated carbon-carbon double bonds and nonpolar nature. However, they differ in their structures, physical properties, reactivity, and applications. The allyl group is more stable and flexible, while the vinyl group is more reactive and commonly used in the polymer industry. Understanding the attributes of allyl and vinyl is crucial for organic chemists and researchers working in various fields.

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