Alkanes

Alkanes are hydrocarbons of the general formula CnH2n + 2;. The potency of this family of straight-chain chemicals increases with the number of carbons. The smaller molecules (methane, ethane, butane, propane) are gases at room temperature; their deliberate inhalation produces cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death. Pentane, hexane, and longer alkanes are liquids that become progressively less volatile. Hexane produces a devastating neurotoxicity. Alkanes are paraffins; cyclopar-affins are rings without alternating double bonds; and alkylcycloparaffins have a short substituent on the ring. Alkylcycloparaffins such as methylcy-clopentane and methylcyclohexane (hexa-hydrotoluene) are convulsants.

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