a series of atoms linked in a chain not joined together at its ends, and so represented in its structural formula.
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Compare closed chain.
Origin of open chain
First recorded in 1880–85
Related formso·pen-chain, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for open chain
Carbohydrates are classed as open-chain compounds, that is, they may be regarded as derivatives of the aliphatic hydrocarbons.
However, the ordinary aldehyde reactions of the sugars are more clearly indicated by the open-chain formula.
British Dictionary definitions for open chain
a chain of atoms in a molecule that is not joined at its ends into the form of a ring
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Science definitions for open chain
An arrangement of atoms of the same type that does not form a ring. Aliphatic compounds, such as ethane and isopropyl alcohol, are open-chain compounds.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.