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Organic means containing carbon.

Originally, scientists believed

that the only substances to
contain organic compounds were
living things as they were not
able to manufacture organic
substances in lab.

Why did nature choose carbon?

Carbon is not the most abundant element.
Nature chose carbon because of its
versatility. Forming covalent bonds, it is
able to combine with itself forming long
chains, make aromatic compounds, form
isomers, and combine with almost every
other atom.

In drawing structural formulas of

organic substances you will notice
that carbon has four bonds. Each
line represents a carbon bond.
Each of these carbon bonds
represents two electrons being
shared by the two atoms. Carbon
will have four bonds, making it
have 8 valence electrons and a full
outer shell.

One class of organic compounds are

hydrocarbons. These are
substances that contain only
carbon and hydrogen.
This is different from the
in a 1:2:1 ratio.

There are a tremendous number of

hydrocarbons. Three types of hydrocarbons
we will study are the
Alkanes-these hydrocarbons contain only
single bonds between carbons
The formula for alkanes is CnH2n+2
Alkenes-an unsaturated hydrocarbon
containing at least one double bond
The simplest alkenes have one double
bond and the formula of CnH2n

Alkene - In general, a double bond is shorter

in length and stronger than a single bond.
If more than one double bond is present the
name changes. For example, two double
bonds would be a diene, three a triene.
Alkynes-are substances that have at least
one triple bond
The simplest alkynes have one triple
bond and follow the formula of CnH2n-2

The prefixes in organic chemistry are the

same for the alkanes, alkenes, and alkynes.



Try these practice problems to test how

well you know the prefixes:
A. (Eth + Meth) X (Hept -Pent) =
B. (Oct + But)/Prop =
C. (Dec X Hex) - Non =
Answers next slide.


(2+1) X (7-5) = 6


(8+4)/3 = 4


(10X6)-9 = 25.5

If you look at alkanes, they can be anywhere

from one to one million atoms long. If the
carbon atoms are in a continuous line, the
substance is said to be normal so an N is
used to identify the substance. For
example, n-butane. This means you have a
straight chained 4 carbon alkane. If you
have an isomer of butane, it will have a
different name but it will not be n-butane.

Here you see

the first
compound is a
straight chain.
This would be
butane. The
compound, an
isomer, is isobutane.

These are saturated hydrocarbons with the

general formula of:

This means that if you know the number of
Carbons, n, then the formula for the
hydrogens is H=2n + 2.

Alkanes are the only saturated

hydrocarbons. This is because
they have only single bonds
between each of the carbons.
If a double or triple bond is
added then the hydrocarbon

Now you can try these practice problems:

A. Calculate the number of hydrogens if
an alkane has 45 carbons.
B. How many hydrogens does an alkane
with 345 carbons have.
C. What is the molecular formula for
Answers next slide.


A. C45H92
B. C345H692
C. C7H16

Alkenes are UNSATURATED hydrocarbons that

contain at least one double bond.
Alkenes that have two double bonds are
called DIENES. An alkene with three triple
bonds is called a TRIENE.
Unless you are told otherwise, we will work
with alkenes that have ONE double bond.

The general formula for an alkene is as


Notice that the +2 is missing from the alkane
formula. This is because with every
carbon to carbon bond made, you must
lose 2H atoms.

Calculate the number of carbons or

hydrogens for each:
A. An alkene with 56 Hydrogens. C=?
B. An alkene with 56 Carbons. H=?
C. Give the formula for Butene.
Answers next slide.

Answers to previous slide:

A. C28H56
B. C56H112
C. C4H8

These are also unsaturated hydrocarbons.

Alkynes differ from alkenes in that they
contain at least one triple bond between
carbons. This means that if you started
with an alkane, you would lose 4 hydrogens
making a triple bond. The resulting formula
would be:


Try these practice problems:

Calculate the number of C or H for each:
A. 34 carbon alkyne. H=?
B. An alkyne with 344 hydrogens. C=?
C. Give the molecular formula for Propyne.
Answers next slide.

Answers to previous slide:

H=2n-2 where n=no. of carbon
A. H=66




Remember that in going from an

alkane to an alkene to an alkyne, you
are adding carbon to carbon bonds.
Every time you make a carbon to
carbon bond, you remove two
hydrogen atoms. If you remove
a carbon to carbon bond, you
must add two hydrogen atoms.

What would be the molecular formula if you

combined the following:
A. ethyne + pentene + butane
B. Octane + octyne
Answers next slide.

A. C2H2 + C5H10 + C4H10 so your initial

formula is C11H22. However, you have two
carbon to carbon bonds so you have to
substract 4 more hydrogens. The final
answer is C11H18.
B. C16H30