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Distincton of Alkanes and Alkenes. On the left: Cyclohexane does not react with water bromide On the right: Cyclohexene does.

In organic chemistry, an alkene, olefin, or olefine is an unsaturated chemical compound containing at least one carbon-to-carbon double bond.[1] The simplest alkenes, with only one double bond, no rings, and no other functional groups, are hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n.[2]

Aromatic compounds are often drawn as cyclic alkenes, but their structure and properties are different and they are not considered to be alkenes.[2]

The double bond in the middle makes them more reactive because the molecule is not saturated. An alkene's unsaturation means that it will take the color out of bromine. The names of alkenes always end with -ene.

List of Alkenes[change | change source]

The following is a list of the first 10 alkenes:

Physical properties[change | change source]

The physical properties of alkenes are comparable with those of alkanes. The main differences between the two are that the acidity levels of alkenes are much higher than the ones in alkanes. The physical state depends on molecular mass (gases from ethene to butene - liquids from pentene onwards). The simplest alkenes, ethene, propene and butene are gases. Linear alkenes of approximately five to sixteen carbons are liquids, and higher alkenes are waxy solids.

Fuel[change | change source]

Alkenes are not used as fuels because:

  1. They are scarce in nature. They are made from other hydrocarbons to make plastics, anti–freeze and many other useful compounds.
  2. They burn with a smoky flame due to less efficient, and more polluting incomplete combustion, so the heat energy release is lower than for alkanes.

References[change | change source]

  1. Wade, L.G. (2006). Organic Chemistry. Pearson Prentice Hall. pp. 279. ISBN 1-4058-5345-X.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Moss, G. P.; Smith, P. A. S.; Tavernier, D. (1995). "Glossary of Class Names of Organic Compounds and Reactive Intermediates Based on Structure (IUPAC Recommendations 1995)". Pure and Applied Chemistry. 67 (8–9): 1307–1375. doi:10.1351/pac199567081307. S2CID 95004254.