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Chemistry   >   Alkanes and Haloalkanes

Introduction and Notation

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Alkanes and Haloalkanes

In this course, Professor Karl Haushalter (Harvey Mudd College) introduces alkanes to us, a fundamental type of hydrocarbon often used in research and industry. We begin by: (i) introducing the key characteristics of alkanes, and the process of drawing and writing out short-chain alkanes and some derivatives as well; then (ii) talking about structural isomerism, and how different structural formulae can arise from compounds with the same chemical formula; before (iii) showing and discussing the bonding within alkanes, and how this bonding defines key aspects such as shape and bond angle; then (iv) looking at some more advanced topics such as conformational analysis, and why certain conformations of alkanes are higher or lower in energy; and then (v) introducing alkanes substituted with halogens, otherwise known as haloalkanes, looking briefly at their nomenclature, structure, and thermodynamics; before finally (vi) looking at some key reactions of haloalkanes, such as nucleophilic substitution and elimination, as well as their mechanisms.

Introduction and Notation

In this first mini-lecture, Professor Karl Haushalter first introduces alkanes by defining their key characteristics: being fully saturated hydrocarbons. What do each of these terms mean? Then, we look at the formulae and structures of the four simplest alkanes, methane, ethane, propane and butane. What are the different ways of drawing out these compounds? Then as we learn about longer chain alkanes (up to decane), we are introduced to methods of writing out formulae in more concise manners - such as condensed and skeletal formulae. To finish off, we look at some alkanes which have had some additional functional group added to them, and how we might systematically name these compounds.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Haushalter, K. (2022, January 17). Alkanes and Haloalkanes - Introduction and Notation [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Haushalter, K. "Alkanes and Haloalkanes – Introduction and Notation." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Jan 2022,


Prof. Karl Haushalter

Prof. Karl Haushalter

Harvey Mudd College