Why are olefins preferred to alkanes in synthetic organic chemistry?

1 Answer
Mar 24, 2017

Because alkanes, even alicyclic alkanes are reasonably unreactive.


Alkanes are unreactive species generally. Of course, you can burn them (and we do burn them in order to drive our motors and our industry), however, activation of hydrocarbyl chains is a difficult endeavour, usually requiring specialized conditions such as UV light.

On the other hand, olefins, #C=C# groups (which may be introduced by radical bromination of an alkane, and then dehydrobromination) are reactive species; and these are reactive towards halogens, hydrogen halides, and sulfuric acid, and permanganates.