Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Definition

This is the chemical structure of ethylene, an example of an aliphatic hydrocarbon.
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An aliphatic compound is a hydrocarbon compound containing carbon and hydrogen joined together in straight chains, branched trains or non-aromatic rings. Aliphatic compounds may be saturated (e.g., hexane and other alkanes) or unsaturated (e.g., hexene and other alkenes, as well as alkynes).

The simplest aliphatic hydrocarbon is methane, CH4. In addition to hydrogen, other elements may be bound to the carbon atoms in the chain, including oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine, and sulfur. Most aliphatic hydrocarbons are flammable.

Also Known As: aliphatic compound

Examples of Aliphatic Hydrocarbons: ethylene, isooctane, acetylene

List of Aliphatic Compounds

Here is a list of aliphatic compounds, ordered according to the number of carbon atoms they contain.

Number of Carbons Aliphatic Hydrocarbons
1 methane
2 ethane, ethene, ethyne
3 propane, propene, propyne, cyclopropane
4 butane, methylpropane, cyclobutene
5 pentane, dimethylpropane, cyclopentene
6 hexane, cyclohexane, cyclohexene
7 heptane, cyclohexane, cyclohexene
8 octane, cyclooctane, cyclooctene
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Definition." ThoughtCo, Sep. 8, 2021, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, September 8). Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Definition. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Definition." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 31, 2023).