Oxidation States in Alkanes

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Chapter: Organic Chemistry : Oxidation States of Organic Compounds

Considering the various alkanes shown below, one sees that alkanes can have several different oxidation levels for carbon.


OXIDATION STATES IN ALKANES

Considering the various alkanes shown below, one sees that alkanes can have several different oxidation levels for carbon. Oxidation levels can range from 4 for methane and3 for the carbon atom of methyl groups all the way to 0 for the quaternary carbon of neopentane. In spite of the several oxidation levels possible in alkanes, the functional group approach tells us that all are saturated alkanes and thus have the same functional equivalency and similar reactivity patterns.


This conclusion is made from the fact that all the carbons in alkanes have four single bonds originating from them and those σ bonds go to either carbon or hydrogen. Thus one cannot automatically assign a molecule to a functional class based solely on a certain oxidation level of the carbons that it contains.

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