A dimer is a chemical or biological entity consisting of two structurally similar subunits called monomers, which are joined by bonds, which can be strong or weak.

Molecular dimers are often formed by the reaction of two identical compounds e.g.: 2A → A-A. In this example, monomer "A" is said to dimerise to give the dimer "A-A". An example is Diaminocarbenes, which dimerise to give tetraaminoethylenes:

2 C(NR2)2 → (R2N)2C=C(NR2)2

Acetic acid forms a dimer in the gas phase, the monomer units are held together by hydrogen bonds. Under special conditions, most OH-containing molecules form dimers, e.g. the water dimer.

Dicyclopentadiene is an unsymmetrical dimer of two cyclopentadiene molecules that have reacted to give the product. Upon heating, it "cracks" to give identical monomers:

C10H12 → 2 C5H6

The term homodimer is used when the two molecules are identical (e.g. A-A) and heterodimer when they are not (e.g. A-B). The reverse of Dimerization is often called dissociation. Wikipedia

See Also

Bjerknes Effect
Sympathetic Association
Sympathetic Oscillation
Sympathetic Vibration

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Wednesday May 23, 2012 14:07:15 MDT by Dale Pond.