KENNETH EWARD / BIOGRAFX / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KENNETH EWARD / BIOGRAFX / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Alkanes. Computer-generated molecular models of the first three alkanes. They are methane (CH4, top left), ethane (C2H6, top right) and propane (C3H8, at bottom). Carbon atoms (C) are dark blue and hydrogen (H) are light blue. Atomic bonds are green. Alkanes are members of a group of hydro- carbons having the general formula CnH2n+2, where n is an integer number. They are commonly known as paraffins. The first four alkanes: methane, ethane, propane and butane are colourless gases; the higher members are liquids and those above constituents of petroleum and are also found in natural gas.
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