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Home :FAQ :Introduction to organic chemistryPrint | Comment
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What is an alkyl group?

How many carbons are in methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl? Is methyl the same as methane...?

Vocabulary
alkane*
alkyl group*
hydrocarbon*
An alkyl group is a piece of a molecule with the general formula CnH2n+1, where n is some integer. For example, a methyl group (CH3) is a fragment of a methane molecule (CH4); n = 1 in this case. The -yl ending means "a fragment of an alkane formed by removing a hydrogen".
AlkaneFormulaAlkyl groupFormula
methane CH4 methyl group -CH3
ethane CH3CH3 ethyl group -CH2CH3
propane CH3CH2CH3 n-propyl group -CH2CH2CH3
butane CH3CH2CH2CH3 n-butyl group -CH2CH2CH2CH3

Author: Fred Senese senese@antoine.frostburg.edu



General Chemistry Online! What is an alkyl group?

Copyright © 1997-2010 by Fred Senese
Comments & questions to fsenese@frostburg.edu
Last Revised 08/17/15.URL: http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/organic/faq/yl-ending.shtml