Hydrocarbons and their properties

Organic chemistry:

The branch of chemistry which deals with the study of carbon compound (i.e. hydrocarbon and its derivative) except oxide of carbon, carbonate, and bicarbonate is known as organic chemistry or you can say Hydrocarbons.

In 1828 A.D. German chemist fried rich Wohler prepared an organic substance. which is i.e. urea in the lab by heating an inorganic compound ammonium cyanate for the first time.


Ammonium cyanate      urea


There are Organic compounds which contain carbon and hydrogen only are known as a hydrocarbon. There is two type of hydrocarbon. According to Study.com, it is found in natural gas and crude oil.

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a) Saturated hydrocarbon:

Hydrocarbons in which carbon-carbon atoms are connected by the single covalent bond are called as a saturated hydrocarbon. Saturated hydrocarbons are also called paraffin, which means less reactive.

Alkane = CnH2n+2 (general formula)

b) Unsaturated hydrocarbon:

The compound in which carbon-carbon atoms are linked together by multiple (at least one double or triple bond) bonds are known as an unsaturated hydrocarbon.

i) Alkene: Hydrocarbon in which at least one double bond is present between carbon-carbon atoms are called alkene. The general formula of alkene is  → Cn H2n

  • Alkenes are also called olefins because they react with chlorine to produce oil like Derivatives.
Molecular  FormulaCommon NameIUPAC Name

ii) Alkyne: Hydrocarbon in which at least one double bond is present between carbon-carbon atoms are called Alkene. The general formula of alkene is → CnH2n-2

Molecular  FormulaCommon NameIUPAC Name

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Physical properties of alkanes:

  • Boiling and melting point increase with increasing molecular weight.
  • Specific gravity increases with increasing molecular weight.
  • Soluble in an organic solvent like alcohol, ether, carbon tetrachloride but insoluble in water.
  • Colourless, odourless.

Chemical properties:

1) Combustion:

When carbon is burnt in presence of oxygen it produces a large amount of heat along with carbon dioxide and water vapour which is known as combustion. Hydrocarbons and their properties

CH4 +  2O2  → CO2 + 2H2O  + heat

2) Pyrolysis/cracking:

When long-chain alkanes are heated above their boiling point in absence of oxygen, they are broken to yield smaller alkanes, alkenes and hydrogen. Which is known as pyrolysis or cracking?

C4H10   →   C2H4 +  CH3CH3

3) Halogenation:

Alkane reacts with chlorine in the presence of sunlight to form different types of chlorides.

CH4 + Cl2   →  CH3Cl + Cl2  →  CH2Cl2  →   CHCl2    →   CCl4

Methane  Chloromethane   Chloroform  Carbontetrachloride

Chloroform (CHCl3) is used as anesthesia.

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