Alkanes of Chem

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1.1

organic compound a molecular compound of carbon, not including CO(g), CO2(g), and HCN(g)

hydrocarbon a compound containing only carbon and hydrogen atoms saturated hydrocarbon a hydrocarbon with only single covalent bonds between its carbon atoms alkane a saturated hydrocarbon
H
H C H (a) H (b)
Figure 2 Two representations of the methane molecule: (a) the structural formula and (b) the ball-and-stick model

8 Chapter 1 • Organic Compounds

Alkanes
Organic chemistry is the study of carbon compounds. As a general definition, an organic compound is a molecular compound containing carbon with the exception of carbon monoxide, CO(g), carbon dioxide, CO2(g), and hydrogen cyanide, HCN(g). Since carbon has 4 valence electrons, its atoms tend to form 4 covalent bonds. Carbon atoms ofen bond with one another to form chains. Tese chain struc- tures become the backbones of a range of molecules, some of them very complex. Carbon-based molecules are the building blocks for life on Earth.
Most fuels are hydrocarbons, whose molecules consist only of carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Hydrocarbon fuels include natural gas, gasoline, fuel oil, and diesel fuel. NASCAR racing cars burn an unleaded fuel similar to that used in most cars on the street (Figure 1). Natural gas, which is pri- marily methane, is a major fuel for electric power plants. Butane and propane are used to heat homes and to fuel tools such as soldering torches.

Figure 1 Hydrocarbons are sources of fuel all over the world.
Burning carbon-based fuels is a major contributor to global warming, according to most scientific models, due to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Other environmental problems have also been associated with the release of carbon- containing compounds to our atmosphere and oceans. Te use of hydrocarbons as fuel needs to…...

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