Explain Geometrical Isomerism

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

Geometrical isomerism is popularly known as cis-trans isomerism. These isomers have different spatial arrangements of atoms in three-dimensional space.


Isomers are types of chemical compounds that share the same chemical formula but have different characteristics and atom arrangements. As a result, isomers are substances that display isomerism.

The Greek words “isos” and “meros,” which mean “equal pieces,” are the source of the English word “isomer.” Jacob Berzelius, a Swedish scientist, first used this phrase in 1830.

Geometrical Isomer

  • Compounds with the same empirical formula but different atom arrangements are referred to as isomers.
  • The orientation of a functional group in a compound is described by a geometric isomer.
  • In a geometric isomer, the atoms are often joined by a double bond that does not rotate, but it is possible that the ring structure may also play a role.
  • The isomers are given the names cis and trans depending on where the functional group is located.
  • When a comparable group is positioned adjacently, the compound is given the prefix cis.
  • The prefix trans is used to denote the compound when a similar group is positioned in the opposite position.



Explain Geometrical Isomerism

Cis-trans isomerism is the common name for geometric isomerism. In three-dimensional space, the atoms are arranged differently in these isomers.

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