Differences Between Alkane, Alkene, Alkyne


In the fascinating world of organic chemistry, we come across some special characters – alkane, alkene, and alkyne. Each of these compounds has its own unique role and characteristics in the world of chemistry. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these compounds, understand what makes them special, and explore the differences between them. 

What is Alkane?

First up, let’s meet the alkane. Alkanes are like the solid foundation of the organic chemistry world. They’re often called “paraffins,” and they are all about single carbon-carbon (C-C) bonds. Imagine each carbon atom in an alkane holding hands with another carbon atom, forming a single bond. These compounds are super important because they serve as the building blocks for many other organic compounds. Their chemical formula, which is like a secret code, is CnH2n+2, with ‘n’ telling us how many carbon atoms are in the molecule. Alkanes can take on different shapes – they can be long and straight, or they can branch out in various directions. 

What is Alkene?

Next, let’s get to know alkenes. Alkenes are a bit more lively than alkanes, often called “olefins.” What sets them apart is the presence of one or more carbon-carbon double (C=C) bonds. Imagine a carbon atom in an alkene holding two hands with another carbon atom, forming a double bond. This double bond gives alkenes a bit of flexibility, making them more reactive compared to alkanes. Their chemical formula is CnH2n, where ‘n’ again tells us how many carbon atoms are in the molecule. Alkenes come in various shapes, just like alkanes. They can be linear, branched, or even form cool circular structures, which makes them versatile in the world of chemistry. 

What is Alkyne?

Lastly, let’s meet the alkyne, often referred to as “acetylenes.” Alkynes are the energetic rebels in the hydrocarbon family because they’re all about those carbon-carbon triple (C≡C) bonds. In an alkyne, you’ve got one carbon atom holding three hands with another carbon atom, forming a triple bond. This triple bond gives alkynes unique characteristics and makes them super reactive, which is valuable in various chemical processes. Their chemical formula is CnH2n-2, and just like their cousins, alkanes, and alkenes, they can take on different shapes – linear, branched, or even cyclic structures. 

Difference Between Alkane, Alkene, Alkyne

To gain a deeper understanding of the differences between alkane, alkene, and alkyne, let’s compare their properties and characteristics using the following table: 

Property  Alkane  Alkene  Alkyne 
Type of Bonds  Single Bonds  At least one Double Bond  At least one Triple Bond 
Chemical Formula  CnH2n+2  CnH2n  CnH2n-2 
Examples  Natural Gas, Gasoline, Wax  Plastics, Some Rubber, Oils  Acetylene, Some Plastics 
Saturation  Saturated  Unsaturated  Unsaturated 
State at Room Temperature  Gas or Liquid  Liquid or Gas Gas or Liquid 
Reactivity  Low Reactivity  Moderate Reactivity  High Reactivity 
Uses  Fuel, Lubricants  Plastics, Food Oils  Welding, Chemical Production 
Solubility in Water  It is Insoluble in water Insoluble in water Also, Insoluble in water
Boiling Points  Increases in Molecular Weight  Generally Lower than Alkanes  Higher than Alkenes 
Stability  More Stable  Less Stable  Least Stable 

Alkane vs Alkene vs Alkyne

Now, let’s explain some of these differences in more detail: 

Type of Bonds:

  • Alkanes have single bonds, which are relatively weak. 
  • Alkenes have at least one double bond, which is stronger than a single bond. 
  • Alkynes have at least one triple bond, which is the strongest type of bond among these three. 

Chemical Formula:

  • Alkanes follow the formula CnH2n+2, which means they have more hydrogen atoms than alkenes and alkynes. 
  • Alkenes follow the formula CnH2n, and alkenes have fewer hydrogen atoms than alkanes. 
  • Alkynes follow the formula CnH2n-2 and have even fewer hydrogen atoms than alkenes. 

State at Room Temperature:

  • Alkanes are often gases or liquids at room temperature. 
  • Alkenes are also typically gases or liquids at room temperature. 
  • Alkynes share this property with alkenes and are usually found in the same state. 


  • Alkanes have low reactivity, meaning they don’t easily react with other substances. 
  • Alkenes have moderate reactivity because the presence of the double bond makes them more willing to react with other substances. 
  • Alkynes are highly reactive due to the triple bond, which makes them even more eager to react with other chemicals. 


  • Alkanes are commonly used as fuels and lubricants because of their low reactivity. 
  • Alkenes are found in plastics and some food oils due to their moderate reactivity. 
  • Alkynes are used in welding and the production of various chemicals because of their high reactivity. 

From the table, it is evident that the main disparities between these hydrocarbons lie in their carbon-carbon bonding, saturation, general formulas, reactivity, solubility, physical states, boiling points, and stability. Alkanes, being solely composed of single carbon-carbon bonds, possess a higher degree of saturation, making them more stable and less reactive. Alkenes, on the other hand, present double carbon-carbon bonds, resulting in unsaturation and increased reactivity. Lastly, alkynes contain triple carbon-carbon bonds, making them the least stable and most reactive of the three hydrocarbons. 

Final Notes

Understanding the fundamental differences between alkane, alkene, and alkyne is crucial in navigating the fascinating world of organic chemistry. By comprehending their distinct properties and unique characteristics, chemists can predict and manipulate chemical reactions with precision and efficiency. Whether it’s constructing complex molecular structures or synthesizing valuable compounds, the knowledge of these hydrocarbons opens doors to limitless possibilities in the realm of chemistry. So, the next time you encounter alkane, alkene, or alkyne, remember their disparities and how they influence various reactions. 

This is all about the difference between Alkane, Alkene, and Alkyne. Hope this article gives answers to all the queries. These concepts Alkane, Alkene, and Alkyne are the toughest concepts in chemistry, and these are important basics to crack IIT, NEET, or any other competitive examination. If you feel it is difficult to understand such concepts Tutoroot online one-on-one tuition will help you a lot, our expert faculty will teach you the concepts that are really tough in a simple manner. Click here now to book a FREE DEMO from an expert faculty. 


What are the main differences between alkanes and alkenes?

The main differences between alkanes and alkenes are in their types of bonds, chemical formulas, reactivity, and uses. Alkanes have single bonds, the formula CnH2n+2, low reactivity, and are often used as fuels and lubricants. Alkenes have at least one double bond, the formula CnH2n, and moderate reactivity, and are found in plastics and some food oils.

What is the main difference between alkenes and alkynes?

The main difference between alkenes and alkynes is the type of bond they have. Alkenes have at least one double bond, while alkynes have at least one triple bond. This makes alkynes more reactive than alkenes. Alkenes are found in plastics and some food oils, while alkynes are used in welding and chemical production. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.