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3.1 IUPAC Basics and Naming Alkanes

Lesson Summary

When naming alkanes:

  • 1. Find the parent chain, the longest carbon chain. If two possible parent chains have the same length, but different substituent numberings, pick the one with the smaller substituent number at the first point of difference.
  • 2. Count the number of carbon atoms in the parent chain and match that number to the name from our earlier chart (methane, ethane, propane, etc.)
  • 3. Identify and number the substituents (appendage dangling off the parent chain) in whichever direction gives them the lowest number.
  • 4. Write the name as a single word.

Example: 3-ethyl-4,4-dimethylheptane