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What is an Alkane?
Alkanes are organic
molecules that form an homologous
series with the general formula CnH2n+2. Homologous series
means that the series has the same general formula and
the compounds have similar properties and structure, differing
only in the number of CH2 units in the chain. The "chain"
is the line of carbon atoms joined together. Members of the
same series show a gradual change in physical properties
for example the boiling point increases as the chain gets longer.
|Methane, CH4, has n=1.||Pentane, C5H12, has n=5.|
|Ethane, C2H6, has n=2.||Hexane, C6H14, has n=6.|
|Propane, C3H8, has n=3.||Heptane, C7H16, has n=7.|
|Butane, C4H10, has n=4.||Octane, C8H18, has n=8.|
Below are links to the structure
of some alkanes.
Some of these molecules exist as isomers. The
structural formula is sometimes called the displayed formula.
Methane Ethane Propane Butane
Pentane Hexane Heptane Octane
that have single bonds between
all of the atoms. They have the maximum number of
hydrogen atoms for the number of carbon atoms present,
and so alkanes are called saturated hydrocarbons.
Links Hydrocarbons Revision Questions
gcsescience.com The Periodic Table Index Hydrocarbons Quiz gcsescience.com
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