10 Difference Between Saturated And Unsaturated Hydrocarbons With Examples

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What Are Saturated Hydrocarbons?

Saturated hydrocarbons are hydrocarbons that contain only single bonds between carbon atoms. They are the simplest class of hydrocarbons. They are called saturated because each carbon atom is bonded to as many hydrogen atoms as possible. In other words, the carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen.

Examples of saturated hydrocarbons include:

  • Methane
  • Hexane
  • Ethane
  • Butane
  • Pentane
  • propane

What You Need To Know About Saturated Hydrocarbon

  1. Saturated hydrocarbons are compounds in which all hydrogen atoms and carbon atoms are bonded together with single bonds.
  2. Alkanes are examples of saturated hydrocarbons
  3. Saturated hydrocarbons burn with a blue, non-sooty flame.
  4. Saturated hydrocarbons have a less amount of carbon atoms bonded to a high number of hydrogen atoms.
  5. They usually obtained from fossilized plant and animal materials.
  6. Saturated hydrocarbons are less reactive.
  7. They undergo substitution reactions.
  8. Saturated hydrocarbons are mainly used for heating and cooking purposes.
  9. Saturated hydrocarbons have more hydrogen content and therefore during combustion or heating, they produce more water (moisture).
  10. They have low solubility in water.

What Is Unsaturated Hydrocarbon?

Unsaturated hydrocarbons are hydrocarbons that have double or triple covalent bonds between adjacent carbon atoms. The term ‘’Unsaturated’’ means more hydrogen atoms may be added to the hydrocarbon to make it saturated (i.e consisting all single bonds). The configuration of unsaturated carbons includes straight chain such as alkenes and alkynes as well as branched chains and aromatic compounds.

Except for aromatic compounds, unsaturated hydrocarbons are mostly reactive and undergo multiple reactions to their multiple bonds. Examples of unsaturated hydrocarbons include:

  • Ethene
  • Benzene
  • Acetic acid
  • Propene
  • Butadiene
  • Fluorine
  • Acenaphthene
  • Naphthalene

What You Need To Know About Unsaturated Hydrocarbon

  1. Unsaturated hydrocarbons are compounds in which all hydrogen atoms and carbon atoms are bonded together by double or even triple bonds.
  2. Alkenes, alkynes and aromatic hydrocarbons are examples of unsaturated hydrocarbons.
  3. Unsaturated hydrocarbons burn with a yellow sooty flame.
  4. Unsaturated hydrocarbons have a high amount of carbon atoms bonded to fewer number of hydrogen atoms.
  5. They are mainly obtained from plants (plant pigments, waxes, proteins, vegetable oil etc).
  6. Unsaturated hydrocarbons are more reactive when compared to saturated hydrocarbons.
  7. They undergo addition reactions.
  8. Unsaturated hydrocarbons are widely used as pesticides, fuel, paints and many other necessities.  They are also used in many chemical reactions to synthesize other compounds.
  9. Unsaturated hydrocarbons have less hydrogen content and therefore during combustion or heating, they produce less water (moisture).
  10. Unsaturated hydrocarbons are non-polar and therefore have low solubility in water. However, they are easier to dissolve in non-polar organic solvents such as benzene.

Difference Between Saturated And Unsaturated Hydrocarbons In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON SATURATED HYDROCARBONS UNSATURATED HYDROCARBONS
Description Saturated hydrocarbons are compounds in which all hydrogen atoms and carbon atoms are bonded together with single bonds.   Unsaturated hydrocarbons are compounds in which all hydrogen atoms and carbon atoms are bonded together by double or even triple bonds.  
Examples Alkanes are examples of saturated hydrocarbons   Alkenes, alkynes and aromatic hydrocarbons are examples of unsaturated hydrocarbons.  
Burning Saturated hydrocarbons burn with a blue, non-sooty flame.   Unsaturated hydrocarbons burn with a yellow sooty flame.  
Ration of Carbon To Hydrogen Atoms Saturated hydrocarbons have a less amount of carbon atoms bonded to a high number of hydrogen atoms.   Unsaturated hydrocarbons have a high amount of carbon atoms bonded to fewer number of hydrogen atoms.  
Source They usually obtained from fossilized plant and animal materials.   They are mainly obtained from plants (plant pigments, waxes, proteins, vegetable oil etc).  
Reactivity Saturated hydrocarbons are less reactive.   Unsaturated hydrocarbons are more reactive when compared to saturated hydrocarbons.  
Reaction Type They undergo substitution reactions.   They undergo addition reactions.  
Applications Saturated hydrocarbons are mainly used for heating and cooking purposes.   Unsaturated hydrocarbons are widely used as pesticides, fuel, paints and many other necessities.  They are also used in many chemical reactions to synthesize other compounds.  
Water (Moisture) Production On Combustion Saturated hydrocarbons have more hydrogen content and therefore during combustion or heating, they produce more water (moisture).   Unsaturated hydrocarbons have less hydrogen content and therefore during combustion or heating, they produce less water (moisture).  
Solubility They have low solubility in water.   Unsaturated hydrocarbons are non-polar and therefore have low solubility in water. However, they are easier to dissolve in non-polar organic solvents such as benzene.