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Department of Chemistry

Newman Projection

The Newman Projection is similar to the sawhorse projection but instead of looking at the molecule from an oblique angle, we now look at it while facing it. This is how it looks:


In a Newman projection, we look along a carbon-carbon bond. The front carbon is represented as a dot and the back carbon as a circle. The sustituents attached to the front carbon all have bonds starting from the dot while the substituents attached to the back carbon have bonds starting from the circle. If you look at a Newman projection, you can see that it is a 'compact' version of the sawhorse projection.


As an example, see below how the 2 enantiomers of 2- Butanol are represented using the Sawhorse and Newman projections:


At university, you will learn that compounds can exist in different conformations and that chiral carbons can have 2 different configurations that you will learn to assign using 3D representations. That is why it is important to be able to represent molecules in 3D using different representations but also to understand how to draw one representation of a molecule starting from another. With a bit of practice, you will then be able to say whether 2 different representations of a chemical correspond to the same compound, enantiomers or something else.

Below is an example of how to go from a Newman projection to a Sawhorse projection using wedge and dash for one enatiomer of 2-Butanol:

Using the Newman projection of the other enantiomer, draw its sawhorse projection using wedge and dash like I did. How does it look?