In This Chapter
Seeing how straight-chain alkanes are named
Naming a branched alkane
Alkanes are compounds that contain only carbon-carbon single bonds. Because they have the maximum possible number of hydrogens, alkanes are said to be saturated hydrocarbons. Alkanes have the molecular formula of CnH2n+2, where n is the number of carbons in the molecule. An alkane that has eight carbons, for example, would have a molecular formula of C8H18.
Naming molecules is an important skill to have. Unlike biology, where organisms are given seemingly arbitrary names, organic molecules are named systematically. When you understand the nomenclature rules and how to apply them, you can name most molecules you come across. And thank goodness for that, as there are millions of known organic compounds. Can you imagine the amount of memorization that would be required if each one were given some arbitrary name? I don’t even want to think about it.
Furthermore, every unique molecule in chemistry must have a different name. George Foreman may be able to name each of his five sons George, but in chemistry, if two molecules are different, then they must have different names to distinguish them.
The names of alkanes ...