Alkanes are the simplest class of Hydrocarbons. They contain only single bonds between molecules; this means that they are saturated molecules due to each carbon-carbon bond being single. They range in size from Methane, the smallest alkane with a chemical formula of CH4, to long chain molecules which branch and may form different isomers. The general formula for alkanes is CnH2n+2 and this may be used to predict the formula of any alkane.The formula shows that the number of hydrogens is double the number of carbons with another two added on.
The formulae of the first six alkanes are displayed in the Table 1 below:
Table 1: Alkane Formulae