Naming Simple Alkyl Chain Functional Groups

Nomenclature of Simple Alkane Chain Molecules

Methyl aminolevulinate drug molecule
MOLEKUUL/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

A simple alkyl group is a functional group made up entirely of carbon and hydrogen where the carbon atoms are chained together by single bonds. The general molecular formula for simple alkyl groups is -CnH2n+1 where n is the number of carbon atoms in the group.
Simple alkyl groups are named by adding the -yl suffix to the prefix associated with the number of carbon atoms present in the molecule.

Below you will find diagrams of the chemical structures of ten different alkyl chain functional groups.

Methyl Group

This is the chemical structure of the methyl functional group.

ThoughtCo / Todd Helmenstine

  • Number of Carbons: 1
  • Number of Hydrogens: 2(1)+1 = 2+1 = 3
  • Molecular Formula: -CH3
  • Structural Formula: -CH3

Ethyl Group

This is the chemical structure of the ethyl functional group.

ThoughtCo / Todd Helmenstine

  • Number of Carbons: 2
  • Number of Hydrogens: 2(2)+1 = 4+1 = 5
  • Molecular Formula: -C2H5
  • Structural Formula: -CH2CH3

Propyl Group

This is the chemical structure of the propyl functional group.

ThoughtCo / Todd Helmenstine

  • Number of Carbons: 3
  • Number of Hydrogens: 2(3)+1 = 6+1 = 7
  • Molecular Formula: -C3H7
  • Structural Formula: -CH2CH2CH3

Butyl Group

This is the chemical structure of the butyl functional group.

ThoughtCo / Todd Helmenstine

  • Number of Carbons: 4
  • Number of Hydrogens: 2(4)+1 = 8+1 = 9
  • Molecular Formula: C4H9
  • Structural Formula: -CH2CH2CH2CH3 or: -(CH2)3CH3

Pentyl Group

This is the chemical structure of the pentyl functional group.

ThoughtCo / Todd Helmenstine

  • Number of Carbons: 5
  • Number of Hydrogens: 2(5)+1 = 10+1 = 11
  • Molecular Formula: -C5H11
  • Structural Formula: -CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3 or: -(CH2)4CH3

Hexyl Group

This is the chemical structure of the hexyl functional group.

ThoughtCo / Todd Helmenstine

  • Number of Carbons: 6
  • Number of Hydrogens: 2(6)+1 = 12+1 = 13
  • Molecular Formula: -C6H13
  • Structural Formula: -CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3 or: -(CH2)5CH3

Heptyl Group

This is the chemical structure of heptyl functional group.

ThoughtCo / Todd Helmenstine

  • Number of Carbons: 7
  • Number of Hydrogens: 2(7)+1 = 14+1 = 15
  • Molecular Formula: -C7H15
  • Structural Formula: -CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3 or: -(CH2)6CH3

Octyl Group

This is the chemical structure of the octyl functional group.

ThoughtCo / Todd Helmenstine

  • Number of Carbons: 8
  • Number of Hydrogens: 2(8)+1 = 16+1 = 17
  • Molecular Formula: -C8H17
  • Structural Formula: -CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3 or: -(CH2)7CH3

Nonyl Group

This is the chemical structure of the nonyl functional group.

ThoughtCo / Todd Helmenstine

  • Number of Carbons: 9
  • Number of Hydrogens: 2(9)+1 = 18+1 = 19
  • Molecular Formula: -C9H19
  • Structural Formula: -CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3 or: -(CH2)8CH3

Decyl Group

This is the chemical structure of the decyl functional group.

ThoughtCo / Todd Helmenstine

  • Number of Carbons: 10
  • Number of Hydrogens: 2(10)+1 = 20+1 = 21
  • Molecular Formula: -C10H21
  • Structural Formula: -CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3 or: -(CH2)9CH3