We explain what hydrocarbons are and how they are classified. Also, what are its characteristics and chemical and physical properties.
Hydrocarbons are a group of organic compounds . Its molecules are made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms, organized in various structures depending on the type of hydrocarbon.
For the most part, hydrocarbons come from oil . This is because oil is the result of the decomposition of organic matter and therefore offers a large quantity and concentration of carbon and hydrogen .
Petroleum derivatives, that is, hydrocarbons, are involved in multiple industries , from aeronautics to the toy industry. Almost all the fuels used in transportation are derived from hydrocarbons, a use by which they create polluting waste ( carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and carbon monoxide (CO)). For this reason, attempts are currently being made to replace them with other types of fuels and energy sources .
Hydrocarbons are a non-renewable resource , since they cannot be manufactured by humans .
All substances whose molecules contain carbon atoms in their main structure that form bonds with other carbon atoms (carbon-carbon bond) and with hydrogen atoms (carbon-hydrogen bond) are considered organic . However, oxygen , sulfur , phosphorus and nitrogen can also be part of its structure . Hydrocarbons are part of organic molecules, which are only made up of carbon and hydrogen.
Although each hydrocarbon has a distinctive molecule , they all share a chain of carbon atoms in their molecular structure , each of which may also be linked to one or more hydrogen atoms.
Aromatic hydrocarbons have cyclic molecules, that is, the carbon atoms form a circle . Between the carbon atoms there are double bonds alternating with single bonds. One of the aromatic hydrocarbons is benzene, as well as all its derivatives.
Aliphatic hydrocarbons are those that do not form rings with double bonds alternated with single bonds, that is, they are not aromatic. The chains of the aliphatics can be open or closed.
The saturated hydrocarbons are alkanes and cycloalkanes . Unsaturated hydrocarbons are aromatics, alkenes, and alkynes.
Hydrocarbons are used mainly as fuel for transport and industry , but also in electric generators. In addition, they are the raw material for lubricants and greases for vehicles, as well as asphalt.
Hydrocarbons are processed to make all kinds of plastics , acrylics, nylon, gloves, paints , synthetic fibers, containers, adhesives, insecticides, detergents, refrigerants, and fertilizers.
Hydrocarbons are pollutants not only due to the residues produced when they ignite, but also when oil (a mixture of hydrocarbons) is spilled on the land or in the water. Despite being organic substances, hydrocarbons are not usually biodegradable .
However, research has been developed to address this problem . For this, a combination of bacteria is used that degrade the hydrocarbon molecules in a chain, that is, a bacterium manages to break the molecule to make it "edible" for another bacterium.
To name hydrocarbons , a series of prefixes (at the beginning of the name) and suffixes (at the end of the name) are used to indicate the number of bonds and atoms.
Examples of prefixes according to the number of carbon atoms: Met (one carbon atom), Et (two), Prop (three), But (four), Pent (five), Hex (six), Hept (seven), Oct (eight), Non (nine).
Suffixes according to the type of hydrocarbons
In the case of hydrocarbons that have double or triple bonds, a number that corresponds to the position of the first carbon that participates in such multiple bonds must be entered as a prefix to the suffix -eno (if it is alkene) and to the suffix -ino (if it is alkene). alkyne).