An alkane is a member of a series of saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons having the empirical formula CnH2n+2. Alkanes are obtained by fractional distillation from petroleum and are used extensively as fuels.
The German chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann invented the alkane class in 1866 as he saw them as the most important series of hydrocarbons. Prior to his proposition, the names of hydrocarbons consisted of the scattered use of the Greek feminine patronymic suffixes “-ene”, “-ine”, and “-one” meaning “daughter of”. Hofmann suggested systemising the nomenclature by using the vowels “a, e, i, o, u” to create the suffixes “-ane”, “-ine or -yne”, “-one”, and “-une”. Only the first three came into use.
Here is a photograph of August Wilhelm von Hofmann:
[ux_image_box img=”1169″ image_width=”40″ link=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Wilhelm_von_Hofmann” target=”_blank”]
- https://web.archive.org/web/20120414184114/http:// www.chem.yale.edu/~chem125/125/history99/5Valence/Nomenclature/Hofmannaeiou.html
- https://web.archive.org/web/20120202091842/http:// www.chem.yale.edu/~chem125/125/history99/5Valence/Nomenclature/alkanenames.html