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Chemistry LibreTexts

12.1: Alkanes Are Unreactive Compounds

The alkanes and cycloalkanes, with the exception of cyclopropane, are probably the least chemically reactive class of organic compounds. Alkanes contain strong carbon-carbon single bonds and strong carbon-hydrogen bonds. The carbon-hydrogen bonds are only very slightly polar; therefore, there are no portions of the molecules that carry any significant amount of positive or negative charge that can attract other molecules or ions. Alkanes can be burned, destroying the entire molecule (Alkane Heats of Combustion), alkanes can react with some of the halogens, breaking carbon-hydrogen bonds, and alkanes can crack by breaking the carbon-carbon bonds.