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9.1: Alkanes- Saturated Hydrocarbons

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     with the hydrocarbons, the simplest organic compounds, which are composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms only. As we noted, there are several different kinds of hydrocarbons. They are distinguished by the types of bonding between carbon atoms and the properties that result from that bonding. Hydrocarbons with only carbon-to-carbon single bonds (C–C) and existing as a continuous chain of carbon atoms also bonded to hydrogen atoms are called . , in this case, means that each carbon atom is bonded to four other atoms (hydrogen or carbon)—the most possible; there are no double or in the molecules. correctly predicts a tetrahedral shape for the methane (Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\)). . The first 10 members of this series are given in Table \(\PageIndex{1}\). is added in each step moving up the series. Any family of compounds in which adjacent members differ from each other by a definite factor (here a CH group) is called a . The members of such a series, called , have properties that vary in a regular and predictable manner. The principle of gives organization to in much the same way that the gives organization to . Instead of a bewildering array of individual carbon compounds, we can study a few members of a and from them deduce some of the properties of other compounds in the series.

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