Alkanes: Structure and Constitution
Alkanes: Structural Diversity
Based on the tetravalency of carbon, an enormous diversity of bonding possibilities and structures exist in alkanes. Most compounds found in nature consist of a framework of chains and rings connected with each other and made up of C atoms. Attached to these frameworks as substituents are functional groups which consist of other elements, mainly N and O. It is probably not by accident that most living matter on Earth is composed of carbon compounds. Generally, alkanes can be separated into linear (so-called n-alkanes), branched, cyclic and polycyclic structures.