- Paraffins. A homologous series of saturated hydrocarbons having the general formula CnH2n+2. Their systematic names end in -ane. They are chemically inert, stable, and flammable. The first four members of the series (methane, ethane, propane, butane) are gases at ordinary temperatures; the next eleven are liquids, and form the main constituents of paraffin oil; the higher members are solids. Paraffin waxs consists mainly of higher alkanes.
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In organic chemistry, an alkane, or paraffin (a historical trivial name that also has other meanings), is an acyclic saturated hydrocarbon. In other words, an alkane consists of hydrogen and carbon atoms arranged in a tree structure in which all the carbon–carbon bonds are single. Alkanes have the general chemical formula CnH2n+2. The alkanes range in complexity from the simplest case of methane (CH4), where n = 1 (sometimes called the parent molecule), to arbitrarily large and complex molecules, like pentacontane (C50H102) or 6-ethyl-2-methyl-5-(1-methylethyl) octane, an isomer of tetradecane (C14H30). The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) defines alkanes as "acyclic branched or unbranched hydrocarbons having the general formula CnH2n+2, and therefore consisting entirely of hydrogen atoms and saturated carbon atoms". However, some sources use the term to denote any saturated hydrocarbon, including those that are either monocyclic (i.e. the cycloalkanes) or polycyclic, despite their having a distinct general formula (i.e. cycloalkanes are CnH2n). In an alkane, each carbon atom is sp3-hybridized with 4 sigma bonds (either C–C or C–H), and each hydrogen atom is joined to one of the carbon atoms (in a C–H bond). The longest series of linked carbon atoms in a molecule is known as its carbon skeleton or carbon backbone. The number of carbon atoms may be considered as the size of the alkane. One group of the higher alkanes are waxes, solids at standard ambient temperature and pressure (SATP), for which the number of carbon atoms in the carbon backbone is greater than about 17.With their repeated –CH2 units, the alkanes constitute a homologous series of organic compounds in which the members differ in molecular mass by multiples of 14.03 u (the total mass of each such methylene-bridge unit, which comprises a single carbon atom of mass 12.01 u and two hydrogen atoms of mass ~1.01 u each). Methane is produced by methanogenic bacteria and some long-chain alkanes function as pheromones in certain animal species or as protective waxes in plants and fungi. Nevertheless, most alkanes do not have much biological activity. They can be viewed as molecular trees upon which can be hung the more active/reactive functional groups of biological molecules. The alkanes have two main commercial sources: petroleum (crude oil) and natural gas. An alkyl group is an alkane-based molecular fragment that bears one open valence for bonding. They are generally abbreviated with the symbol for any organyl group, R, although Alk is sometimes used to specifically symbolize an alkyl group (as opposed to an alkenyl group or aryl group).
アルカン（ドイツ語: Alkan、英語: alkane）とは、一般式 CnH2n+2 で表される鎖式飽和炭化水素である。メタン系炭化水素、パラフィン系炭化水素や脂肪族化合物とも呼ばれる。炭素数が大きいものはパラフィンとも呼ばれる。アルカンが置換基となった場合、一価の置換基をアルキル基、二価の置換基をアルキレン基と呼ぶ。環状の飽和炭化水素はシクロアルカンと呼ばれる。 IUPACの定義によれば、正式には、環状のもの（シクロアルカン）はアルカンに含まれない。しかし両者の性質がよく似ていることや言葉の逐語訳から、シクロアルカンを「環状アルカン」と称し、本来の意味でのアルカンを「非環状アルカン」と呼ぶことがある。結果的に、あたかも飽和炭化水素全体の別称であるかのように「アルカン」の語が用いられることもあるが、不適切である。 主に石油に含まれ、分留によって取り出される。個別の物理的性質などについてはデータページを参照。生物由来の脂肪油に対して、石油由来のアルカン類を鉱油（mineral oil）と呼ぶ。