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Fri, Aug 12, 2022 3:05 PM

A Century Of Curly Arrows

The curly arrow is a ubiquitous symbol in chemistry. It is used to indicate the movement of electrons in a chemical reaction, and can be found in textbooks, on chalkboards, white boards (and of course in ChemDraw).


Though they may appear simple, curly arrows are a powerful tool for visualizing complex chemical processes: a simple stroke immediately conveys information about the direction and type of electron movement. If there was such a thing as a Top10 ranking of important chemistry symbols, the curly arrow would be in it. More than a doodle, it’s a symbol of the chemist’s quest to find Simplicity in the midst of Complexity.  


Stepping aside from philosophical considerations to something more tangible, it’s also very easy to work with curly arrows in ChemDraw and you have this little video to help you with that. 




And you should of course also have a look at this great article from Chemistry World.

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