Identifying an Unknown Alkane

A saturated hydrocarbon burns in oxygen to give carbon dioxide and water. Approximately twice as much CO2 as H2O (by weight) is produced by this combustion, the actual factor being 2.03.
Light induced chlorination of the hydrocarbon by 2.0 equivalents of chlorine gives a mixture of mono-, di- and trichloro compounds, along with small amounts of higher chlorination products. Only one monochloro isomer is formed, but there are two dichloro isomers and three trichloro isomers produced in the reaction. Based on this information, you should be able to identify the hydrocarbon, and draw structural formulas for the chlorinated compounds.

1. What is the molecular formula of the hydrocarbon?       C H
Enter numbers for your formula in the designated answer boxes.
Hint: Consider the ratio of CO2 and H2O produced in the combustion of methane relative to decane.

2. Write the IUPAC name for this hydrocarbon in the box on the right.
Be careful to observe all the proper punctuation (e.g. dashes and commas) when writing the name.


This script written by William Reusch, Dept. of Chemistry, Michigan State University. Please send comments and corrections to