Hydrocarbons: Classification of Hydrocarbons, Characteristics of Hydrocarbon (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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  • A hydrocarbon is an organic chemical compound composed exclusively of hydrogen and carbon atoms.
  • The compounds consisting of hydrogen and carbon only are called hydrocarbons.
  • Hydrocarbons are naturally-occurring compounds and form the basis of crude oil, natural gas, coal, and other important energy sources.
  • They are obtained from the major sources of energy like petroleum and coal. Compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) are the primary sources of energy for the automobile industry, and domestic fuel is obtained from petroleum.
  • Hydrocarbons are examples of group 14 hydrides.

Classification of Hydrocarbons

Classification of Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbons can be classified into four types, Based on the structure:

Open chain saturated – Alkanes


Examples N-Pentane Iso and Neo-Pentane
  • Unsaturated: Unsaturated hydrocarbons are defined as the hydrocarbons in which the carbon atoms are bonded to each other with two or three covalent bonds and have the tendency to obtain more hydrogen atoms.
  • Example alkynes and alkenes.


Examples Ethene and Ethyne
  • Cyclic – alicyclic
  • Aromatic – These hydrocarbons are defined as the cyclic hydrocarbons with alternate C-C and C = C as well as, are like the benzene ring in characters.
  • The major reactions of alkanes are oxidation, combustion, aromatization, and free radical substitution.
  • Alkenes and alkynes undertake addition reaction, which is mainly electrophilic addition.
  • Aromatic hydrocarbons mainly undergo electrophilic substitution reaction. They experience addition reactions only under exceptional conditions.

Characteristics of Hydrocarbon

Characteristices of Hydrocarbon

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