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Simple Alkane Chains

Nomenclature of Simple Alkane Chain Molecules

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An alkane is a molecule made up entirely of carbon and hydrogen where the carbon atoms are connected by single bonds. The general formula for an alkane is CnH2n+2 where n is the number of carbon atoms in the molecule. Each carbon atom has four single bonds and forms a tetrahedron. This means the bond angle is 109.5°.

Alkanes are named by adding the the -ane suffix to the prefix associated with the number of carbon atoms present in the molecule.

Click image to enlarge the molecule.

Methane

This is the ball and stick model of the methane molecule.
Todd Helmenstine
Number of Carbons: 1
Number of Hydrogens: 2(1)+2 = 2+2 = 4
Molecular Formula: CH4
Structural Formula: CH4

Ethane

This is the ball and stick model of the ethane molecule.
Todd Helmenstine
Number of Carbons: 2
Number of Hydrogens: 2(2)+2 = 4+2 = 6
Molecular Formula: C2H6
Structural Formula: CH3CH3

Propane

This is the ball and stick model of the propane molecule.
Todd Helmenstine
Number of Carbons: 3
Number of Hydrogens: 2(3)+2 = 6+2 = 8
Molecular Formula: C3H8
Structural Formula: CH3CH2CH3

Butane

This is the ball and stick model of the butane molecule.
Todd Helmenstine
Number of Carbons: 4
Number of Hydrogens: 2(4)+2 = 8+2 = 10
Molecular Formula: C4H10
Structural Formula: CH3CH2CH2CH3
or: CH3(CH2)2CH3

Pentane

This is the ball and stick model of the pentane molecule.
Todd Helmenstine
Number of Carbons: 5
Number of Hydrogens: 2(5)+2 = 10+2 = 12
Molecular Formula: C5H12
Structural Formula: CH3CH2CH2CH2CH3
or: CH3(CH2)3CH3

Hexane

This is the ball and stick model of the hexane molecule.
Todd Helmenstine
Number of Carbons: 6
Number of Hydrogens: 2(6)+2 = 12+2 = 14
Molecular Formula: C6H14
Structural Formula: CH3CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3
or: CH3(CH2)4CH3

Heptane

This is the ball and stick model of the heptane molecule.
Todd Helmenstine
Number of Carbons: 7
Number of Hydrogens: 2(7)+2 = 14+2 = 16
Molecular Formula: C7H16
Structural Formula: CH3CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3
or: CH3(CH2)5CH3

Octane

This is the ball and stick model of the octane molecule.
Todd Helmenstine
Number of Carbons: 8
Number of Hydrogens: 2(8)+2 = 16+2 = 18
Molecular Formula: C8H18
Structural Formula: CH3CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3
or: CH3(CH2)6CH3

Nonane

This is the ball and stick model of the nonane molecule.
Todd Helmenstine
Number of Carbons: 9
Number of Hydrogens: 2(9)+2 = 18+2 = 20
Molecular Formula: C9H20
Structural Formula: CH3CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3
or: CH3(CH2)7CH3

Decane

This is the ball and stick model of the decane molecule.
Todd Helmenstine
Number of Carbons: 10
Number of Hydrogens: 2(10)+2 = 20+2 = 22
Molecular Formula: C10H22
Structural Formula: CH3CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3
or: CH3(CH2)8CH3
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