Saturated and Unsaturated Hydrocarbons




Structure of Methane

H
|
H - C - H
|
H




Organic Chemistry is an interesting field of chemistry. The organic compounds are defined simply as compounds of carbon. This theme is comparing saturated and unsaturated compounds with respect to structure and properties. Hydrocarbons are any molecules that just contain hydrogen and carbon. The way the hydrogens and carbons hold hands determines which hydrocarbon family they belong to. If they only hold one hand they are called "saturated hydrocarbons" because they can not absorb additional hydrogen. If the carbons hold two hands (for example) they are called "unsaturated hydrocarbons" because they can be converted into "saturated hydrocarbons" by the addition of hydrogen to form the double bond. Saturated hydrocarbons include alkanes and cyclic alkanes. Unsaturated hydrocarbons include alkenes, alkynes, arenes, and polynuclear aromatics.

This theme will be useful when I become a Chemistry Teacher. I hope to share these concepts with the eleventh grade chemistry students. One of the teaching units should be on organic chemistry and this material will be very valuable in developing a lesson plan. The students can be divided into cooperative learning groups and hydrocarbons can be a subject for discussion. Using the Internet as the educational resource, the students will discover some interesting facts about hydrocarbons and gasoline.

This theme is not designed to describe reactions of organic compounds. It is placing emphasis in the area of gasoline. The students will have a better understanding of gasoline and why it is so importans as a consumer product.This theme also informs us that a large number of hydrocarbons constitute most of the types of commercial gasolines. A technical description of what gasoline contains has also been provided. Gasoline contains over 500 hydrocarbons that have between 3 to 12 carbons. Gasolines are usually defined by government regulation, where properties and test methods are clearly defined. In the U.S., several government and state bodies can specify gasoline properties. The last 10 years of various compositional changes to gasolines for environmental and health reasons have resulted in fuels that do not follow historical rules, and the regulations mapped out for the next decade also ensure the composition will remain in a state of flux. The reformulated gasoline specifications, especially the 1/May/1997 complex model, will probably introduce major reductions in the distillation range, as well as the various limits on composition and emissions.

Since most of the students love to drive, they will find some interesting consumer tips on gasoline, such as the following: