Alkanes are the simplest organic molecules, consisting of only carbon and hydrogen and with only single bonds between carbon atoms. Alkanes are used as the basis for naming the majority of organic compounds (their nomenclature). Alkanes have the general formula CnH2n+2.
Nomenclature2,2-dimethylpropane or neopentane.
An example of an alkane
The names of all alkanes end with -ane. Whether or not the carbons are linked together end-to-end in a ring (called cyclic alkanes or cycloalkanes) or whether they contain side chains and branches, the name of every carbon-hydrogen chain that lacks any double bonds or functional groups will end with the suffix -ane.
Alkanes with unbranched carbon chains are simply named by the number of carbons in the chain. The first four members of the series (in terms of number of carbon atoms) are named as follows:
1. CH4 = methane = one hydrogen-saturated carbon
2. C2H6 = ethane = two hydrogen-saturated carbons
3. C3H8 = propane = three hydrogen-saturated carbons
4. C4H10 = butane = four hydrogen-saturated carbons
Alkanes with five or more carbon atoms are named by adding the suffix -ane to the appropriate numerical multiplier, except the terminal -a is removed from the basic numerical term. Hence, C5H12 is called pentane, C6H14 is called hexane, C7H16 is called heptane and so forth.
Straight-chain alkanes are sometimes indicated by the prefix n- (for normal) to distinguish them from branched-chain alkanes having the same number of carbon atoms. Although this is not strictly necessary, the usage is still common in cases where there is an important difference in properties between the straight-chain and branched-chain isomers: e.g. n-hexane is a neurotoxin while its branched-chain isomers are not.
Alkanes are the simplest and least reactive hydrocarbon species containing only carbons and hydrogens. They are commercially very important, being the principal constituent of gasoline and lubricating oils and are extensively employed in organic chemistry; though the role of pure alkanes (such as hexanes) is delegated mostly to solvents.
The distinguishing feature of an alkane, making it distinct from other compounds that also exclusively contain carbon and hydrogen, is its lack of unsaturation. That is to say, it contains no double or triple bonds, which are highly reactive in organic chemistry.
Though not totally devoid of reactivity, their lack of reactivity under most laboratory conditions makes them a relatively uninteresting, though very important component of organic chemistry. As you will learn about later, the energy confined within the carbon-carbon bond and the carbon-hydrogen bond is quite high and their rapid oxidation produces a large amount of heat, typically in the form of fire.
As said it is important, not considered very important component in the chemistry.
Methane, (CH4, one carbon bonded to four hydrogens) is the simplest organic molecule. It is a gas at...