Coal mainly consists of carbon, arenes like benzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene and anthracene besides organic compounds of sulphur and nitrogen.A few alkanes have been detected in the waxy constituents of certain plants. For example-nonacosane, C29H60 has been isolated from cabbage leaves and leaves and n-heptane, C7H16 is found to be present in pinus species.Alkanes can be prepared in the laboratory from alkyl halides by reduction, directly with zinc and acetic acid or via Gringard reagent formation followed by hydrolytic work up. The coupling reaction of alkyl halides with Gilman reagent also produces alkanes.Selective reduction of aldehydes or ketones either by Clemmensen reduction or Wolff-Kishner reduction yields alkanes. Alkanes are also prepared simply by catalytic hydrogenation of alkenes or alkynes (Nahar & Sarker, 2013)Alkanes are used as solvents especially for dissolving tough to clean greases. These alkanes are low boiling liquid alkanes, for example hexane. These greases are usually made up of many different organic compounds. This is possible because alkanes are non-polar therefore are able to dissolve in most organic compounds which are non-polar.Alkanes do not undergo chemical reactions under normal ionic conditions. This property is referred to as chemical inertness. Therefore alkanes can be stored for a long period of time and can be used to protect other materials from chemical reaction. For example, paraffin wax is often used to seal jars after home canning of fruits and vegetables. Propane is often compressed to liquid form and sold as liquefied propane fuel. Propane, butane and isobutene are used to pressurise aerosol cans since they are chemical inert.Most methane is transported by pipeline and ships in liquid form and is used for heating fuel. Some is burned in internal combustion engines to power vehicles. Some is burned as fuel in gas-fired steam power plants to produce electricity. Through cracking, ethane is converted to ethylene which is either used as a petrochemical raw material or polymerised into plastic called polyethylene. The products of cracking process are generally used for producing linear alkyl benzenes which are used as the raw material for manufacturing detergents. Low molecular weight alkanes are refined and liquefied and sold as Liquefied Petroleum Fuel (LPG). For instance, butane is used as a cigarette lighter. Alkanes with 5 to 7 carbons, sometimes referred to as
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