Compounds containing two carbon atomsWith some exceptions, what are compounds that contain a chain of at least two carbon atoms?

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boblawrence | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The detail part of your question asks about compounds containing chains of “at least two carbon atoms”.  Therefore, you could be asking about compounds with 2,3,4,5 or 6-carbon chains.

The prefix in a compound’s name indicates the number of carbon atoms in the main chain as follows:

“Meth” = 1 Carbon,  “Eth” = 2 Carbons,   “Prop” = 3 Carbons,  “But” = 4 Carbons,  “Pent” = 5 Carbons,  “Hex” = 6 Carbons.

The chains can be straight or in ring form.

Compounds called “Alkanes” include Methane = CH4 and Ethane = C3H3

Compounds called “Alkenes” have one fewer hydrogen, for example  Methyl = CH3, and Ethyl = CH3CH2

Compounds with any double bonds between Carbons have the suffix “ene”.

Compounds without double bonds between Carbons have the suffix “ane”.

Basic compounds are thus named according to the number of carbons followed by the appropriate suffix (presence or absence of double bonds between Carbons).

A five-Carbon compound without double bond(s) is a Pentane, with double bonds, Pentene.

Additional naming is done by adding at the front of the compound name the site (carbon number) and name of chemical groups attached to the carbons.

Examples of groups are “Methyl” and “Ethyl” as indicated above.

Please see the reference for an excellent basic explanation on the structure and naming of organic compounds, including the numbers of Carbon atoms in the compound’s chain.

From the reference and these comments it should be apparent that there are many, many compounds having "at least two carbon atoms".  They would include many types of Ethanes and Ethenes, Propanes and Propenes, Butanes and Butenes, Pentanes and Pentenes, etc.


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