Comparing the Reaction Rates of Alkanes and Alkenes

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 9 October 2016

Comparing the Reaction Rates of Alkanes and Alkenes


Alkanes are hydrocarbons with only single bonds between the atoms. Saturated hydrocarbon is the other term for it. They are used as fuels because they are non-reactive and also do not conduct electricity. For this reason they do not form hydrogen bonds and are insoluble in solvents such as water while alkenes are hydrocarbons that contain at least one carbon-to-carbon double bond. Unsaturated hydrocarbons are the other term for alkenes. They are stable compounds, but more reactive than alkanes due to the presence of carbon-carbon bond.


* To know if potassium permanganate solution will show reactions with oil and fat samples. * To determine if the results of the performed experiment are saturated or unsaturated and alkane or alkene if the samples are mixed with potassium permanganate.


If the fats and oils will be added by potassium permanganate solution then we will know if it is an alkane or an alkene.

Materials and Methods

* We obtained 2 full droppers (medicine dropper) of each oil sample, such as coconut oil, canola oil, corn oil, linseed oil and castor oil and placed it in different test tubes each. Different droppers were used to gather each sample. * We then melted the solid samples; butter, lard, and margarine using the warm water bath provided by the laboratory and tested them as liquids. * After getting all the samples needed, we added one dropper full of potassium permanganate solution to each samples and with the use of stirring rod, we stirred it then was covered with stoppers.

The solid samples at the room temperature were turned to liquid when it was heated using the warm water bath method, while the liquid samples was still liquid at the room temperature.

The butter and lard din not mixed well with the potassium permanganate (KMnO4) and has some unmixed reactant which was at the bottom of the test tubes. Others, such as canola oil, coconut oil, linseed oil, castor oil, corn oil, and margarine has reactions as seen at table 1.

Potassium Permanganate (KMnO4) discharges its color to the samples if it is unsaturated fat, however some have special cases like margarine and coconut oil. Alkanes are not reactant with most reagentsbecause they have good orbital overlap, and their C-C and C-H bonds are strong. Alkane is not acidic nor basic due to the C-H bond and the electronegativity of both elements. Due to similarities the bond becomes a little polarity. Less polarity mean the proton loss would be difficult.

Saturated fats are hydrocarbons consisting of no double bonds between carbon atoms of the datty acid chain. Excessive consumption is not good because of their association with atherosclerosis and heart diseases. Unsaturated fats are considered good to eat if you have control with you cholesterol. It increases good cholesterol or bad cholesterol.

The following samples are unsaturated fats based on our results: Lard, Canola Oil, Linseed Oil, Corn Oil and Castor Oil. In chemical sense, fats are called “unsaturated” because they have spots that could potentially be filled with hydrogen atoms. “Monounsaturated” are fats that don’t have hydrogen. “Polyunsaturated” are fats that have more than one spot of hydrogen.


With the use of the Potassium permanganate (KMnO4) the reaction of the samples were compared and determined whether the substance is an alkane or an alkene. It helps saturated fats from unsaturated fats by discharging its colors to the samples. After following the methods of the experiment, we began to research on some facts about the alkanes and alkenes. All of the samples of liquid at the room temperature changed its color including margarine, while butter and lard did not mix well with the Potassium permanganate (KMnO4).


Therefore we conclude that potassium permanganate (KMnO4) will have a reaction when mixed with unsaturated fats (alkenes), while saturated fats will have less reaction due to its structure because it has no double or triple bond.


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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 9 October 2016

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