Hydrocarbons and Their Types

Hydrocarbons are a group of organic compounds which formation involves carbon and hydrogen only. Most of the hydrocarbons occur naturally in fossil fuels whereby plants and animals that died and decomposed long time ago act as the source of carbon and hydrogen which, after a chemical reaction they can form several possible chemical chains. Hydrocarbons are organic compounds whose origin is substances which were once living things.

We can segregate hydrocarbons can into four main groups: alkanes, alkenes, alkynes and aromatic. The first three contain single, double and triple bonds respectively. While alkanes are saturated, the rest of the hydrocarbons are unsaturated. Saturated hydrocarbons have a structure such that the maximum number of hydrogen atoms are attached to the carbon atoms. For the unsaturated ones, the number of hydrogen atoms is less than the maximum that can bond. Aromatic hydrocarbons are mostly characterized by the presence of a sweet-smelling scent (aroma in Greek). Many of these substances consist of the benzene ring and in effect are referred to as benzenoids. One critical feature of benzenoids is that they are highly unsaturated. The aromatic hydrocarbons which lack benzene ring are referred to as non-benzenoids. Examples of aromatic hydrocarbons are toluene, naphthalene, and benzene.

Hydrocarbons are the most extensively used organic substances. They have been used in the manufacture of gasoline for combustion engines in cars, motorcycles and airplanes. Unlike the steam engines which were very slow, the use gasoline engine makes transport faster thus saving your time and money. Hydrocarbons are also used in the manufacture of kerosene which you can use at your home for lighting. Kerosine can save you the stress of being plunged into darkness at night during electricity blackouts. At room-temperature, pentane gets liquefied and hence becomes appropriate for use as acleaner. Cleaners are useful in removing stains in laundry and household items thus making your clothes and other things last longer. Therefore, you would save you some money as you would buy clothes less frequently as well as maintain high standards of cleanliness. Heavier hydrocarbons are used in the manufacture of greases and lubricating oils. These are important in reducing friction in moving parts of machines, reducing wear and tear of the devices as well as minimizing noise.