The Difference Between Alkanes, Alkenes, and Alkynes

Chemistry, Education
[caption id="attachment_16044" align="alignright" width="440"] An acetylene (ethyne) torch.[/caption] Alkanes, alkenes, and alkynes are made up of carbon and hydrogen. The carbon atoms in each exhibit a valency of four.  Though these three hydrocarbon varieties are similar, there is a difference in bonding. We illustrate this with the simplest example: ethane vs. ethene vs. ethyne. Common and Scientific Names Common names are names given to many compounds, but they may mislead the uninitiated. For instance, the scientific names of alkenes contain the suffix –en(e) as part of their name. But acetylene is not an alkene. It is an alkyne. The scientific names of alkynes contains the suffix –yne. Acetylene is scientifically named ethyne. Yet, it nomenclature is not the only difference between alkanes, alkenes, and alkynes. Alkanes Alkanes are completely saturated…
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Explaining Saturation and Unsaturation

What is Saturation? What is Unsaturation? Even those scientifically uninclined use the words. Saturation, unsaturation, and polyunsaturation are dietary terms closely associated with health. Most know they are also chemical terms. But they don't understand what they mean. This is a shame, since "saturation" can be easily understood by any bright student. Saturated Hydrocarbon Linkage Living matter (plant or animal) is made of of organic compounds. These include (but are not limited to) fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. All these substances contain a kind of backbone or chain, of atoms of carbon (C) bonded to atoms of hydrogen (H). Each carbon is capable of bonding with four hydrogens. [sc name="MidArticleAdsense"] For purposes of illustration, we'll assume we have before us a chain of four carbon atoms, with every available bond possibility…
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