Integrated SequencePhysics Chemistry Organic Biology

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Module 9 in the Syllabus

Alkanes Mechanisms
Mechanisms and explanations from the Organic Mechanisms Pocketbook

Reactions of Alkanes Images
Image gallery for study with links to larger teaching JPEGs for classroom presentation

Question Drill for Reactions of Alkanes
Conceptual Vocabulary Self-Test

Basic Terms Crossword Puzzle

Basic Puzzle Solution

Conceptual Vocabulary
AlkaneAlkanes, also known as paraffins, are chemical compounds that consist only of the elements carbon and hydrogen, where each of these atoms are linked together exclusively by single bonds.
CombustionCombustion or burning is a complex sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat or both heat and light in the form of either a glow or flames.
HalogenationHalogenation is a chemical reaction that incorporates a halogen atom into a molecule.
CrackingCracking is the process whereby complex organic molecules such as kerogens or heavy hydrocarbons are broken down into simpler molecules by the breaking of carbon-carbon bonds in the precursors.
Internal combustion engineThe internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of fuel and an oxidizer (typically air) occurs in a confined space called a combustion chamber.
FuelFuel is any material that is burnt or altered in order to obtain energy.
Free radical halogenationFree radical halogenation is a type of halogenation typical of alkanes and alkyl-substituted aromatics under application of heat or UV light.
Chain reactionA chain reaction is a sequence of reactions where a reactive product or by-product causes additional reactions to take place, a prominent example being the free radical halogenation of alkanes.
Spontaneous combustionSpontaneous combustion is a type of combustion which occurs without an external ignition source.
InitiationInitiation is a chemical reaction that triggers one or more secondary reactions.
PyrolysisPyrolysis is the chemical decomposition of organic materials by heating in the absence of oxygen or any other reagents, except possibly steam.
Chain propagationChain propagation is a process in which a reactive intermediate is continuously regenerated during the course of a chemical reaction such as regeneration of the halogen radical in free radical halogenation of alkanes.
Chain terminationChain termination is any chemical reaction leading to the destruction of a reactive intermediate in a chain propagation step such as recombination of two free radicals in free radical halogenation of alkanes.
Hammond's PostulateThe comparative analysis of bromination and chlorination of alkanes is a model example for Hammond's Postulate which states that if two states occur consecutively during a reaction process and have nearly the same energy content, their interconversion will involve only a small reorganization of the molecular structures.
Advanced terms that may appear in context in MCAT passages
CatagenesisCatagenesis is a term used in petroleum geology to describe the cracking process which results in the conversion of organic kerogens into hydrocarbons.
Metathesis reactionMetathesis is a bimolecular process involving the exchange of bonds between the two reacting chemical species, which results in the creation of products with similar or identical bonding affiliations.
Hydrous pyrolysisHydrous pyrolysis refers to the thermal decomposition which take place when of organic compounds are heated to high temperatures in the presence of water.
Alkane metathesisIn alkane metathesis acyclic alkanes are scrambled to higher and lower homologues with tantalum hydride supported on silica at temperatures of 25 to 200 degrees celsius.

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