The atoms in alkanes with more than three carbon atoms can be arranged in multiple ways, forming different isomers. "Normal" alkanes have the most linear, unbranched configuration, and are denoted with an n.
The names of all alkanes end with -ane. The alkanes, and their derivatives, with four or fewer carbons have non-systematic common names, established by long precedence.
and so on . . . .
Branched alkanes have some non-systematic (or "trivial") names in common use, but there is also a systematic way of naming most such compounds, which starts from identifying the longest non-branched parent alkane in the molecule, counting up from one sequentially starting from the carbon involved in the most prominent functional group (or, more formally, attached to the collection of heteroatoms with highest priority according to some rules), and then numbering the side chains according to this sequence.
i-butane (or "isobutane")
is the only other C4 alkane isomer possible, aside from n-butane. Its formal name is 2-methylpropane.
Pentane, however, has two branched isomers, in addition to its strictly linear, normal form:
"Cracking" breaks larger molecules into smaller ones. This can be done with a thermic or catalytic method. The cracking mechanism is a homolytic process, thus, free radicals are formed.
Here is an example of cracking with butane CH3-CH2-CH2-CH3
after a certain number of steps, we will obtain an alkane and an alkene: CH4 + CH2=CH-CH3
after a certain number of steps, we will obtain an alkane and an alkene from different types: CH3-CH3 + CH2=CH2
R + X2 → RX + HX
These are the steps when methane is chlorinated. This a highly exothermic reaction that can lead to an explosion.
1. Activation step: formation of two free radicals of Cl
Cl2 → Cl* / *Cl
catalysed with UV.
2. Initiation step (slow step): a H atom is pulled off from methane
CH4 + Cl* → CH3+ + HCl
3. Propagation step:
CH3+ + Cl2 → CH3Cl + Cl*
4. Breaking step: recombinaison of two free radicals
R + O2 → CO2 + H2O + H2
CH4 + 2 O2 → CO2 + 2 H20
with less O2:
CH4 + 3/2 O2 → CO + 2 H20
with even less O2:
CH4 + O2 → C + 2 H20