Hydrocarbons Fossil Fuels Hydrocarbons compounds  Elmhurst College
Alkanes or Chime Alkynes or Chime  Rings or Chime  Chemistry Department
Alkenes or Chime Aromatic or Chime Boiling Points  Virtual ChemBook



 Alkanes area class of HYDROCARBONS which contain only carbon and hydrogen. Two other terms which describe alkanes are saturated and paraffins.

SATURATED alkanes means that each carbon is bonded to four other atoms through single covalent bonds. Hydrogen atoms usually occupy all available bonding positions after the carbons have bonded to each other.

PARAFFINS which is derived from a Latin word meaning "little activity", and means that the compounds are very unreactive.

The example compounds of ethane and pentane are shown on the LEFT.

Alkanes are the principle compounds found fossil fuels such as natural gas and oil, which is further refined into gasoline. These compounds thus provide a large share of the energy and are also the raw materials for much of the synthetic compounds of various materials, fibers, drugs, plastic, and many other compounds used in modern society.



 Physical Properties

 Chemical Reactivity


Example: CH3CH3

Boiling points depend on chain length.

Non polar

Insoluble in water

No functional groups, saturated, and class name of paraffins which means - Unreactive to other chemicals.

All compounds: Combustion Reaction

Root names give the number of carbons in the longest continuous chain. Root names are used with various "endings" to indicate branches, type of bonds between carbons, and functional groups.

The following list gives the most basic root the with normal hydrocarbon alkane endings for the number of carbons in the longest continuous chain. Memorize this list.

Example: root = "eth" + alkane ending = "ane" = ethane

 No. of

 Root Name




 CH4  CH4


 C2H6  CH3CH3


 C3H8  CH3CH2CH3


 C4H10  CH3CH2CH2CH3


  C5H12  CH3CH2CH2CH2CH3