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Organic Chemistry Hydrocarbon Nomenclature Prefixes

Table of Hydrocarbon Chain Prefixes

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Propane is a 3-carbon alkane. It is found as a gas or as a compressed liquid.

Propane is a 3-carbon alkane. It is found as a gas or as a compressed liquid.

Ben Mills

The names of hydrocarbon molecules are based on the number of carbon atoms that make up the molecule and the type of bond between them. The prefix of the molecule's name is based on number of carbon atoms. For example, a chain of six carbon atoms would be named hex-.

It would be a good idea to commit this table to memory early in your organic chemistry studies.

 

Organic Hydrocarbon Prefixes
Prefix Number of
Carbon atoms
Formula
meth- 1 C
eth- 2 C2
prop- 3 C3
but- 4 C4
pent- 5 C5
hex- 6 C6
hept- 7 C7
oct- 8 C8
non- 9 C9
dec- 10 C10
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