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formula for alkane


angle strain (Baeyer strain)

the strain associated with compressing bond angles to smaller (or larger) angles

anti conformation

a conformation with a 180 degree dihedral angle between the largest groups. usually the lowest-energy conformation.

bridged bicyclic compound

a compound containing two rings joined at nonadjacent carbons.

bridgehead carbons

the carbons bridging two separate rings.

ring flip

switching from one chair conformation to the next, with all the axial and equatorial positions reversed. the boat conformation is an intermediate for this interconversion.


structures that are related by rotations about single bonds. in most cases, conformations interconvert at room temperature, and so they are not true isomers

conformations of cyclohexanes:

1. chair-most stable
2. boat: less stable
3. twist boat- more stable version of twist boat (twist reduces torsional strain and steric strain)
4. half-chair

flagpole hydrogens

two hydrogens in the boat conformation point upward like flagpoles.

1,3 diaxial interaction

the strong steric strain between two axial groups on cyclohexane carbons with one carbon between them.

degree of alkyl substitution

primary, secondary, tertiary, or quaternary

dihedral angle

the angle between two specified groups in a newman projection.

gauche conformation

a conformation with a 60 degree dihedral angle between the largest groups


the reaction of alkanes with halogens, in the presence of heat or light, to give products with halogen atoms substituted for hydrogen atoms.

heat of combustion

the heat given off when a mole of a compound is burned in a bomb calorimeter.


two compounds that differ only by one or more -CH2 groups (eg ethane vs. propane)


a thin, volatile hydrocarbon with a boiling range between that of diesel fuel and that of gasoline.

methane hydrate

an icelike substance consisting of individual methane molecules trapped inside cages of water molecules

methine group

carbon bonded to two other things and one hydrogen

methylene group




ring strain

angle strain (baeyer strain): bond angle compression or expansion
torsional strain: the strain associated with eclipsing of bonds in the ring.

skew conformation

any conformation that is not precisely staggered or eclipsed.

spirocyclic compound

bicyclic compounds in which the two rings share only one carbon atom.

torsional energy

the energy required to twist a bond into a specific conformation.

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