Alkynes – Formula, Definition, Structure, Properties

Alkynes – Formula, Definition, Structure, Properties

Alkynes are unsaturated hydrocarbons that contain carbon-carbon triple bonds in their molecules. Their general formula is CnH2n-2. The first member of alkyne series is Ethyne popularly known as acetylene. Oxyacetylene torch is used in welding.

Nomencluture of alkynes:

Let us write the IUPAC name for the below mentioned alkynes by applying the general rules of nomenclature that we already discussed in unit No.11

Alkynes img 1


Preparation of alkynes from alkenes:

This process involves two steps:

(i) Halogenation of alkenes to form vicinal dihalides
(ii) Dehalogenation of vicinal dihalides to form alkynes.

Alkynes img 2

Preparation of alkene from gem dihalides:

A compound containing two halogen atoms on the same carbon atom is called gem dihalide (Latin word ‘Gemini’ means twins). On heating with alcoholic KOH, gem dihalides give alkynes.

Alkynes img 3

3. Preparation of alkynes from electrolysis of salts of unsaturated dicarboxylic acids. (Kolbe’s electrolytic method)

Electrolysis of sodium or potassium salt of maleic or fumaric acid yields alkynes.

Alkynes img 4


4. Industrial preparation of ethyne:

Ethyne can be manufactured in large scale by action of calcium carbide with water.

Alkynes img 5

Calcium carbide required for this reaction is prepared by heating quick lime and coke in an electric furance at 3273 K

Alkynes img 6

Physical properties of alkynes:

1. The first three members are gases, next eight are liquids and the higher alkynes are solids. They are all colourless and odourless except acetylene which has garlic odour.

2. They are slightly soluble in water but dissolve readily in organic solvents like benzene, acetone and ethyl alcohol.


Chemical properities of alkynes

Terminal Alkynes are acidic in nature. It undergoes polymerization and addition reaction.

1. Acidic nature of alkynes:

An alkyne shows acidic nature only if it contains terminal hydrogen. This can be explained by considering sp hybrid orbitals of carbon atom in alkynes.

The percentage of s-character of sp hybrid orbital (50%) is more than sp2 hybrid orbital of alkene (33%) and sp3 hybrid orbital of alkane (25%). Because of this, Carbon becomes more electronegative facilitating donation of H+ ion to bases. So hydrogen attached to triply bonded carbon atoms is acidic.

Alkynes img 7

2. Addition reactions of alkynes

(i) Addition of hydrogen

Alkynes img 8

(ii) Addition Of Halogens:

Alkynes img 9

(iii) Addition Of Hydrogen Halides:

Reaction of hydrogen halides to symmetrical alkynes is electrophilic addition reaction. This reaction also follows Markovnikof ’s rule.

Alkynes img 10

Addition of HBr to unsymmetrical alkene follows Markownikoff ’s rule.

Alkynes img 11

(iv) Addition of Water:

Alkynes undergo hydration on warming with mercuric sulphate and dilute H2SO4 at 333K to form carbonyl compounds.

Alkynes img 12


3. Ozonolysis:

Ozone adds to carbon-carbon triple bond of alkynes to form ozonides. The ozonides are hydrolyzed by water to form carbonyl compounds. The hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) formed in the reaction may oxidise the carbonyl compound to carboxylic acid.

Alkynes img 13

4. Polymerisation:

Alkyne undergoes two types of polymerisation reaction

(i) Linear Polymerisation:

Ethyne forms linear polymer, when passed into a solution of cuprous chloride and ammonium chloride.

Alkynes img 14

(ii) Cyclic Polymerisation:

Ethyne undergoes cyclic polymerization on passing through red hot iron tube. Three molecules of ethynepolymerises to

Alkynes img 15


Uses of Alkynes

  1. Acetylene is used in oxy acetylene torch used for welding and cutting metals.
  2. It is used for manufacture of PVC, polyvinyl acetate, polyvinyl ether, orlon and neoprene rubbers.

Find free online Chemistry Topics covering a broad range of concepts from research institutes around the world.