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- The functional groupA set of atoms in a molecule that confer on the molecule a characteristic set of physical and chemical properties. consisting of a carbon atomThe smallest particle of an element that can be involved in chemical combination with another element; an atom consists of protons and neutrons in a tiny, very dense nucleus, surrounded by electrons, which occupy most of its volume. bonded to a hydroxyl groupThe functional group of an oxygen atom bonded to an hydrogen atom, -OH; found in alcohols. and doubly bonded to an oxygen atom; found in carboxylic acids: -C(=O)OH.