what is a alkanes
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Alkanes are a family of hydrocarbons that consist of only carbon and hydrogen atoms, and are characterized by single covalent bonds between their carbon atoms, which forms a chain or branched structure. In other words, alkanes are saturated hydrocarbons, meaning they contain the maximum number of hydrogen atoms possible, with the general molecular formula CnH2n+2.
Alkanes are known for their relative inertness and are often used as solvents, fuels, and starting materials for the synthesis of other organic compounds. Methane, ethane, propane, butane, and pentane are examples of alkanes, with methane being the simplest and smallest member of the family. Alkanes are also sometimes referred to as paraffins, which is an older term that is still used in some contexts.