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The hydrocarbons

Let us first look at a group of organic compounds known as the hydrocarbons . These molecules only contain carbon and hydrogen. The hydrocarbons that we are going to look at are called aliphatic compounds . The aliphatic compounds are divided into acyclic compounds (chain structures) and cyclic compounds (ring structures). The chain structures are further divided into structures that contain only single bonds ( alkanes ), those that contain at least one double bond ( alkenes ) and those that contain at least one triple bond ( alkynes ). Cyclic compounds include structures such as the benzene ring . [link] summarises the classification of the hydrocarbons.

The classification of the aliphatic hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbons that contain only single bonds are called saturated hydrocarbons because each carbon atom is bonded to as many hydrogen atoms as possible. [link] shows a molecule of ethane which is a saturated hydrocarbon.

A saturated hydrocarbon

Hydrocarbons that contain double or triple bonds are called unsaturated hydrocarbons because they don't contain as many hydrogen atoms as possible. [link] shows a molecule of ethene which is an unsaturated hydrocarbon. If you compare the number of carbon and hydrogen atoms in a molecule of ethane and a molecule of ethene, you will see that the number of hydrogen atoms in ethene is less than the number of hydrogen atoms in ethane despite the fact that they both contain two carbon atoms. In order for an unsaturated compound to become saturated, a double bond has to be broken, and another two hydrogen atoms added for each double bond that is replaced by a single bond.

An unsaturated hydrocarbon

Interesting fact

Fat that occurs naturally in living matter such as animals and plants is used as food for human consumption and contains varying proportions of saturated and unsaturated fat. Foods that contain a high proportion of saturated fat are butter, ghee, suet, tallow, lard, coconut oil, cottonseed oil, and palm kernel oil, dairy products (especially cream and cheese), meat, and some prepared foods. Diets high in saturated fat are correlated with an increased incidence of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease according to a number of studies. Vegetable oils contain unsaturated fats and can be hardened to form margarine by adding hydrogen on to some of the carbon=carbon double bonds using a nickel catalyst. The process is called hydrogenation

We will now go on to look at each of the hydrocarbon groups in more detail. These groups are the alkanes, the alkenes and the alkynes.

The alkanes

The alkanes are hydrocarbons that only contain single covalent bonds between their carbon atoms. This means that they are saturated compounds and are quite unreactive. The simplest alkane has only one carbon atom and is called methane . This molecule is shown in [link] .

The structural (a) and molecular formula (b) for methane

The second alkane in the series has two carbon atoms and is called ethane . This is shown in [link] .

The structural (a) and molecular formula (b) for ethane

The third alkane in the series has three carbon atoms and is called propane ( [link] ).

Questions & Answers

are UV rays dangerous?
Khathutshelo Reply
what's this?
i hv a problem with this chapter because i also have problem with Newton's laws of motion
Kearabetswe Reply
what is the wave model of atom ?
Trazy Reply
Can you state the Doppler effect in words
Nombuyiselo Reply
State Coulomb's law in words
the magnitude of the electrostatic force exerted point on each other is directly proportional to the product on magnitude of charges and inversely proportional to the square distance between them
Newton's first law of motion
Nnuso Reply
When an object is at rest or traveling at a constant velocity it will remain at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it.
yes that's true
Always know Newton's second law of motion. It appears to be in every question paper
Is the normal force always 0
Mpilo Reply
no. newtons 3rd law states that if something exerts a force into something else it will experience that same magnitude of force but in the opposite direction. so the net force is equal to the force the object applies to the surface but in the opposite direction
define the term rate of reaction in word
David Reply
I think it a chemical process in which substance act mutually on each other.
how many bones are in the human body?
it's the rate at which the reactants are able to change to products
what is wave lengh
mama Reply
is the de broglie wavelength of the particle
calcium and magnesium, which one can displace aluminum from its compound?
Markia Reply
how is aluminum ion formed?
a substance that has the lower electronegativity which will be in this case the Ca -1.0 this is because the Ca would have a lower ionization energy -needs less energy to fill its outer most shell and therefore will cause a displacement of the Al
an Al ion would form when it has lost electrons and will normally be a cation -positively charged (3+)
molecules with the same molecular formula but different chain
Malaza Reply
what will be the answer
chain isomer
what is structural isomer?
Hey if you define an isomer it will come as an organic molecule with the same number of atoms,same molecule formula ,same molecular mass but different STRUCTURAL FORMULA so what we have is only the chain ,positional and functionally isomer.Never heard of STRUCTURAL isomer
what does the newton's law says?
there are 3 newtons laws which are newton's law of universal gravitation, law of cooling, law of motion
Did the feather or leaf hit the ground first?
Shaloom Reply
both at the same time. air friction ignored
2 to 30 minut long distance race 20 km what's the avarage speed for the race
Jamilla Reply
what is meaning of covalent bonds
Lungani Reply
bonds that exists between non metal atoms. each atom contribute electron(s) which will form a bond joining the two atoms. electrons in the bond now belongs to both atoms
how do we name haloalkanes
Thobeka Reply
how do we name haloalkanes
what are examples of haloalkanes
haloalkanes are compounds that consist of the halogen group chlorine bromine flourine and so on like 2-bromobutan

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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 12 physical science. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11244/1.2
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