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For the various conformations (butterfly, envelope, chair, and boat), how do you know which axial bonds are up or down? I know that it alternates which up and down and does the same for equatorial. I'm wondering where you should start the axial up. For example, on the envelope conformation, how do you know where on the formation to start with axial up? Or does it not matter?
It wouldn't matter as long as you determine whether it's axial or equatorial. Let's say you draw methylcyclohexane and put the methyl group axial up on "Carbon 1," whichever carbon you designate the first. If you were to view the molecule at another angle, you could rotate your view 180 degrees and see that the carbon is also axial down. Now, the same thing happens if you put the methyl group equatorial down (could also be viewed to be equatorial up). However, it's important to designate whether the methyl group is equatorial or axial, since that changes the stability of the molecule.
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