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Classification of Carbon Atoms


In alkanes a carbon atom may be linked to another carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms or two carbons and two hydrogen atoms or three carbon atoms and one hydrogen atom or four carbon atoms and no hydrogen atom. Such carbon atoms or hydrogens have different properties and they are known by different names, such as primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary atoms .


Classification of Carbon Atoms
 

Number of carbon atoms to which it is linked

Number of hydrogen atoms which are linked to the carbon

Name of carbon atom

Symbolic representation

1

3

primary

p- or 1°

2

2

secondary

sec- or 2°

3

1

tertiary

tert- or 3°

4

0

quaternary

quat- or 4°





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