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What is an Alkane?
Alkanes are organic
molecules that form an homologous series
with the general formula CnH2n+2.
Homologous means that they 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 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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