Hydrocarbons are organic chemical compounds that are composed of only carbon and hydrogen. Hydrocarbons are the components of petroleum mixtures, and these mixtures are separated through fractional distillation into the individual petroleum products such as gasoline, heating fuel, or natural gas.
Hydrocarbon structures can be arranged into two groups: aliphatics and aromatics.
Aliphatic hydrocarbons are compounds that have carbon atoms joined in straight-chain or open-chain backbones. The aliphatic hydrocarbons are further divided into alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, and cycloalkanes.
Alkanes have the general formula of CnH2n+2 where all carbon atoms have four single covalent bonds to other carbon or hydrogen atoms.
Alkanes can be straight-chain or open-chain structural isomers, and they all have an –ane suffix. The straight chain Alkanes have an n-prefix and are classified as saturated hydrocarbons. The open-chain alkanes are also classified as saturated hydrocarbons.