The first thing to determine is that the word that concerns us now is a
neologism. Specifically, it was created from the particle "alc-", which is part
of alcohol, and the suffix "-ano", which is used to give name to hydrocarbons.
an alkane is a hydrocarbon: a chemical
compound formed from the combination of carbon and hydrogen. In this case, it is
a saturated hydrocarbon, since its covalent bonds are simple.
Other important data about alkanes are the following:
-The formula that defines them is CnH2n + 2. In this case, it must be stated
that the n corresponds to the number of carbons it has.
-At the time of naming the alkanes is done using the aforementioned suffix
"-ano" and a prefix. This can be of different types, such as the following:
"met-", "but-", "et-", "prop-"... Examples of this are methane, propane,
-Alkanes can be say they are insoluble in water.
-The main use that is usually given is as fuel. Why? Because unquestionably they
release a great deal of heat.
-As a general rule, alkanes are divided into four different groups: cyclic,
linear, polycyclic and branched.
-Its boiling points and also melting points are low.
-They are not rigid.
-At the time of analyzing, working and using alkanes they take on special
importance and value from their combustion to the well-known potential energy
diagrams. In the same way, we cannot forget either what is known as Newman's
projection. This serves to check the energy of the possible conformations that
Alkanes are generally said to be aliphatic because the
structure of their molecules is an open chain. However, there
are also cycloalkanes or cyclic alkanes, which have cyclic
chains. In all cases, alkanes do not have functional groups such as carboxyls,
carbonyls or others.
The methane is an alkane having one atom of
carbon. With two carbon atoms we find ethane, while propane has
three carbon atoms and butane four carbon atoms.
On our planet, alkanes can be found in oil, natural
gas, and biogas, among other sources. It is also
found in cows' stomachs as methane gas, for example.
Importantly, alkanes have been found on other planets. Gaseous planets often
have alkanes in their atmosphere, such as Uranus, Neptune, Saturn, and Jupiter. Alkanes
have also been detected in meteorites that have fallen to the Earth's surface.
Alkanes have multiple uses. Certain alkanes can be used to produce electricity or
as fuel to heat and power motors. Alkanes also serve to obtain oils. The
use of alkanes must be controlled since it is a compound that, when mixed with
air, can explode.