Chemistry » Organic Chemistry » Hydrocarbons



Hydrocarbon molecules with one or more triple bonds are called alkynes; they make up another series of unsaturated hydrocarbons. Two carbon atoms joined by a triple bond are bound together by one σ bond and two π bonds. The sp-hybridized carbons involved in the triple bond have bond angles of 180°, giving these types of bonds a linear, rod-like shape.

The simplest member of the alkyne series is ethyne, C2H2, commonly called acetylene. The Lewis structure for ethyne, a linear molecule, is:

The structural formula and name for ethyne, also known as acetylene, are shown. In red, two C atoms are shown with a triple bond illustrated by three horizontal line segments between them. Shown in black at each end of the structure, a single H atom is bonded.

The IUPAC nomenclature for alkynes is similar to that for alkenes except that the suffix -yne is used to indicate a triple bond in the chain. For example, \({\text{CH}}_{3}{\text{CH}}_{2}\text{C}\equiv \text{CH}\)\({\text{CH}}_{3}{\text{CH}}_{2}\text{C}\equiv \text{CH}\) is called 1-butyne.


Structure of Alkynes

Describe the geometry and hybridization of the carbon atoms in the following molecule:

A structural formula is shown with C H subscript 3 bonded to a C atom which is triple bonded to another C atom which is bonded to C H subscript 3. Each C atom is labeled 1, 2, 3, and 4 from left to right.


Carbon atoms 1 and 4 have four single bonds and are thus tetrahedral with sp3 hybridization. Carbon atoms 2 and 3 are involved in the triple bond, so they have linear geometries and would be classified as sp hybrids.

Chemically, the alkynes are similar to the alkenes. Since the \(\text{C}\equiv \text{C}\)\(\text{C}\equiv \text{C}\) functional group has two π bonds, alkynes typically react even more readily, and react with twice as much reagent in addition reactions. The reaction of acetylene with bromine is a typical example:

This diagram illustrates the reaction of ethyne and two molecules of B r subscript 2 to form 1 comma 1 comma 2 comma 2 dash tetrabromoethane. In this reaction, the structural formula of ethyne, an H atom bonded to a red C atom with a red triple bond to another red C atom bonded to a black H atom, plus B r bonded to B r plus B r bonded to B r is shown to the left of an arrow. On the right, the form 1 comma 1 comma 2 comma 2 dash tetrabromoethane molecule is shown. It has an H atom bonded to a C atom which is bonded to another C atom which is bonded to an H atom. Each C atom is bonded above and below to a B r atom. Each B r atom has three pairs of electron dots. The C and B r atoms, single bond between them, and electron pairs are shown in red.

Acetylene and the other alkynes also burn readily. An acetylene torch takes advantage of the high heat of combustion for acetylene.

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