Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Definition

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Definition." ThoughtCo, May. 23, 2016, thoughtco.com/definition-of-aliphatic-hydrocarbon-604763. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2016, May 23). Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Definition. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-aliphatic-hydrocarbon-604763 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Definition." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-aliphatic-hydrocarbon-604763 (accessed September 26, 2017).
This is the chemical structure of ethylene, an example of an aliphatic hydrocarbon.
This is the chemical structure of ethylene, an example of an aliphatic hydrocarbon. LAGUNA DESIGN / Getty Images

Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Definition

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 alkene, 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 CarbonsAliphatic Hydrocarbons
1methane
2ethane, ethene, ethyne
3propane, propene, propyne, cyclopropane
4butane, methylpropane, cyclobutene
5pentane, dimethylpropane, cyclopentene
6hexane, cyclohexane, cyclohexene
7heptane, cyclohexane, cyclohexene
8octane, cyclooctane, cyclooctene