How many carbon atoms are in ethane?  

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An ethane molecule has the formula `C_2H_6` , so it has two carbon atoms. Ethane is an alkane. Alkanes are a family of organic compounds that are made of carbon and hydrogen atoms with single bonds between all of the carbons. The general formula is C(n)H(2n+2) and the name is derived from the number of carbon atoms. Alkane molecules are said to be saturated because they have the maximum number of hydrogen atoms possible. Two related families of compounds are alkenes, which have at least one double bond, and alkynes, which have at least one triple bond.

Here are the prefixes that designate the number of carbon atoms and the corresponding names for the first ten alkanes:

meth = 1, methane is `CH_4`

eth = 2, ethane is `C_2H_6`

pro = 3, propane is `C_3H_8`

but = 4, butane is `C_4H_10`

pent = 5, pentane is `C_5H_12`

hex = 6, hexane is `C_6H_14`

hept = 7, heptane is `C_7H_16`

oct = 8, octane is `C_8H_18`

non = 9, nonane is `C_9H_20`

dec = 10, decane is `C_10H_22`


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