This is the correct chemical term for compounds known as paraffins. They are considered the simplest organic compounds and are a family of chain hydrocarbons having the general formula C2H2n+2. All of the bonds are single bonds (-C-H-, and -C-C-). The chains can be straight or branched. The smaller members (less than 4 carbons) are gases, while larger ones (five to seventeen carbons) are liquids. Beyond seventeen carbons the alkanes are waxy solids. Structure: The simplest saturated acyclic hydrocarbon is methane, CH4. The other hydrocarbons belonging to this class can be taken as descendents of methane, resulted from the substitution of one or more atoms of hydrogen with hydrocarbon radicals. Therefore, if one hydrogen atom from methane is replaced by a methyl radical, -CH3, the hydrocarbon (superior to methane) will have the composition C2H6, named ethane. The alkanes can be: with a continuous chain, if all the carbon atoms are bound with at most two other carbon atoms, and with a branched chain, if one or more carbon atoms from the molecule are bound with at least two other carbon atoms. Such an isomerism of chain is possible starting with butane. The number of isomers of saturated acyclic hydrocarbons is very big; he grows with each number of carbon atoms from the molecule. For example, the carbide C10H22 has 75 isomers; the hydrocarbon C20H42 can have approximately 366.319 isomers. Nomenclature
The first four alkanes with a unbranched chain, meaning normal (n-alkanes) are called: methane, ethane, propane, butane. The superior alkanes names are compound with a numeric prefix (which shows the number of carbon atoms present in the molecule) and the ending “-ane”. For example: pentane, hexane, heptane, and octane. For the hydrocarbons with two groups of methyl (-CH3) at the end of a linear chain, you use the prefix “iso-” at the name of the hydrocarbon, and for those containing three -CH3 groups at the end of the chain, you use the prefix “neo-” at...
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