Alkanes are a group of saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons. They only contain carbon and hydrogen. All the carbon-carbon bonds are single bonds. Alkanes have a maximum number of hydrogen atoms bonded to the carbon atoms. The simplest alkane is CH4 (methane) and the next is C2H6 (ethane) followed by C3H8 (propane). The general formula for alkanes is CnH2n+2.

Nomenclature of Unbranched Alkanes
Organic compounds are named according to the IUPAC (the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) system. All members of the alkane series have names ending with -ane. The first part (prefix) of the name of the alkane indicates the number of carbon atoms in the molecule. Table below are the prefixes used and the names of the Prefixes name of alkanes series

Molecular Formula of Alkanes
The molecular formula is a chemical formula that shows the actual number of elements present in a molecule. However, it does not show the arrangement of the atoms in the molecule. Steps to write the molecular formula of alkanes:

Physical Properties of Alkanes Melting and Boiling Point of Alkanes Alkanes are non-polar compounds. The intermolecular forces between the molecules are weak Van der Waal's forces. propane y Add hydrogen atoms to the carbon atoms so that each carbon atom has four single covalent bonds.. Select a suitable prefix to show the number of carbon atoms. more energy is needed to break the intermolecular forces. Structural Formula of Alkanes The structural formula is a chemical formula that shows the number of elements present as well as the arrangement of the atoms and covalent bonds between the atoms in a molecule. the melting and boiling points of alkanes are low. Therefore. e. Add the suffix -ane. the Van der Waal's forces between the molecules become stronger.y y y Determine the number of carbon atoms in the straight-chain molecule of the alkane. This is due to the larger molecular size. y y Remember that each carbon atom has four single covalent bonds and each hydrogen atom has only a single covalent bond. .g. Only a little energy is required to break the intermolecular forces. When the molecular size is larger. So. The increase in the number of carbon atoms causes increases in the melting and boiling points. Write the carbon chain that contains the carbon atoms.

tetrachloromethane and so on. the molecular mass increases as well. This causes an increase of intermolecular forces and the molecules are packed close together. Alkanes are soluble and miscible in organic solvents such as ether. This is because alkanes are simple covalent compounds. the density increases gradually when the number of carbon atoms increases. The alkanes from C5-C18 are liquids at room temperature. The density increases when the number of carbon atoms in the alkanes increases. Alkanes are chemically inert to most reagents at room temperature. benzene. This happens because the boiling points increase when the number of carbon atom increases. Alkanes that contain more than 18 carbon atoms are solids.C bond C . alkalis and oxidizing reagents.H bond . All alkanes have similar chemical properties due to their similar types of bonds. acids. when the number of carbon atom increases. Therefore. two layers of liquids will be formed. for example. The top layer is the alkane due to its lower density compared to water. Chemical Properties of Alkanes Alkanes are organic compounds which are unreactive.Physical States of Alkanes At room temperature. When an alkane is shaken with water in a test tube. Electrical Conductivity of Alkanes Alkanes are non-conductors of electricity. Alkanes do not contain free moving ions. Thus. Density of Alkanes All alkanes are less dense than water. The density of a substance is the mass/volume. These are: y y C . Solubility of Alkanes All members in the alkane series are insoluble in water. the first four alkanes exist in gaseous forms.

. Synthesis gas can also be used to manufacture methanol and other organic compounds. However.Effects of Methane in Daily Life Methane is mainly found in natural gas. It is also known as "marsh gas" because it is formed from the bacterial decay of vegetable matter trapped in the marsh and peat swamps. it can be used to produce synthesis gas by reaction with steam. It is used to manufacture hydrogen for the Haber process to produce ammonia. methane is used as an important fuel. Besides. The synthesis gas is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The formation of methane gas by the decomposition of organic matter may cause fires in landfills and peat swamps. It can be also produced from decaying animal dung and from rubbish buried in landfills.

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