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What Are Hydrocarbons?

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The name hydrocarbon refers to any chemical compound composed only of the elements carbon and hydrogen. They are one of Earth's most important natural resources. Currently they are the main source of heat energy and electricity on Earth.

Hydrocarbons usually have a carbon skeleton to which the hydrogen atoms are attached. The simplest hydrocarbon is methane, with one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms.

There are three types of hydrocarbons: aromatic hydrocarbons, also known as arenes, saturated hydrocarbons, also known as alkanes, and unsaturated hydrocarbons, which are further divided as alkenes and alkynes. Alkanes have single bonds between the carbon atoms, whereas arenes have ring structure. Alkenes and alkynes have one or more double or triple bonds between the carbon atoms.

Some of the well known energy sources such as petroleum and natural gas have a mixture of various hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons hold a high energy potential which can be liberated by burning them.
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Hydrocarbons are organic compounds that contains hydrogen and carbon elements in it.

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