Nicotine Molecular Structure

Nicotine Molecular Structure

Nicotine: This week’s molecule is Addictive!

Nicotine belongs to a large class of compounds called alkaloids. Alkaloids are nitrogenous compounds that occur naturally in most plants, and are best known for their medical uses. Nicotine is a naturally occurring compound found in tobacco, and is specifically known for its stimulant effects. When inhaled, nicotine reaches the brain so fast and elicits its effect on heart rate and blood pressure. It also acts on your nerves controlling your respiration, and changes your breathing patterns. High concentrations produce lethal effects – in fact, a single drop of it is enough to kill a person.

What does Nicotine look like in Chemistry?

Nicotine Molecular Structure
Nicotine Molecular Structure

Let’s Get Building!

Using your Student Molecular Model Set from Duluth Labs then let’s create Nicotine! You’ll need:

  • 10 Carbon Atoms

  • 2 Nitrogen Atom

  • 14 Hydrogens

  • 14 Small connectors (compact small bonds for hydrogen)

  • 10 Medium connectors (single covalent bonds)

  • 6 Long connectors

  • Molecular Tool (for Disassembly)

Put aside all the atoms and connectors needed.

Nicotine Molecular Structure

Let’s start off with building our substituted pyridine ring. We will build this part of the molecule in a clockwise rotation, starting with the 12:00 position (Carbon 4). Kindly refer to the structure below.


  • 1

    1. First, get one carbon atom (Carbon 4), then attach one hydrogen atom above it using a small connector.

  • 2

    2. Then using 2 long connectors, attach another carbon atom (Carbon 3) to Carbon 4.

  • 3

    3. Attach another carbon atom (Carbon 2) below Carbon 3using 1 medium connector. Afterwards, add one hydrogen atom on Carbon 2 using a small connector.

  • 4

    4. Then, using 2 long connectors, attach a nitrogen atom (Nitrogen 1) on Carbon 2

  • 5

    5. Get another carbon atom (Carbon 6) then attach it to Nitrogen 1 using 1 medium connector and then add a hydrogen atom on Carbon 6 using a small connector.

  • 6

    6. Use 2 long connectors to attach another carbon (Carbon 5) above Carbon 6. Likewise, add a hydrogen atom on Carbon 5 using a small connector.

  • 7

    7. Join Carbons 5 and 4 together using a medium connector.

  • pyridine

    That’s it! We’ve just built out our Pyridine Structure.

    Note: Looking at the structure closely, we can see that pyridine contains one nitrogen atom.

We will now proceed with building the pyrrolidine group of our Nicotine molecule. In this portion of our molecule, we start with Carbon 4’, then we will continue building it in a clockwise direction. Let’s continue!

  • 1

    1. First using a carbon atom (Carbon 4’) then attach 2 hydrogen atoms on it using 2 small connectors.

  • 2

    2. Using a medium connector, attach another carbon atom (Carbon 5’) below Carbon 4’. Afterwards, attach 2 hydrogen atoms on Carbon 5’ using 2 small connectors.

  • 3

    3. Then, get a nitrogen atom (Nitrogen 1’) and attach this to Carbon 5’ using a medium connector.

  • 4

    4. Then get a carbon atom and attach it below Nitrogen 1’ using a medium connector.

  • 5

    5. Place 3 hydrogen atoms on this carbon attached to Nitrogen 1’ using 3 small connectors.

    Note: Joining 3 hydrogen atoms to 1 carbon atom will form a methyl group. This means, we just attached a methyl group on Nitrogen 1’ of our pyrrolidine molecule!

  • 6

    6. Get another carbon atom (Carbon 2’) then attach this to Nitrogen 1’ using a medium connector.

  • 7

    7. Using a small connector, attach a hydrogen atom on Carbon 2’. Twist Carbon 2’ in such a way that the hydrogen atom bonded to it faces towards you.

  • 8

    8. Then, using 1 medium connector, attach another carbon atom (Carbon 3’) on Carbon 2’. Afterwards attach 2 hydrogen atoms on Carbon 3’ using 2 small connectors.

  • 9

    9. Join Carbons 3’ and 4’ using a medium connector.

  • 10

    10. Now, this is the fun part: Using a medium connector, join Carbon 3(of the pyridine ring) and Carbon 2’ (of the pyrrolidine ring). As you join these 2, make sure that the rings appear “flat” on the floor, while keeping the hydrogen facing towards you.

There you have it! We’ve just built another molecule – Nicotine!

We hope to see how your nicotine molecule turned out!

Comment and share pictures below!

Tune in next week for another molecule of the week!

See you then xoxo :)

Duluth Labs

Afton Direct LLC

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