Mammoth Memory

How to remember the hydrocarbons

Every carbon atom needs four connections to have a full outer shell.

Atomic diagram of a carbon atom with space for 4 more electrons in its outer shell 

This can be achieved by adding hydrogen molecules as:

Molecular diagrams of methane molecule 

Or you could join to a carbon molecule and hydrogen molecules

Molecular diagrams of Ethane molecule 

Or you could join to a carbon molecule with a double bond and hydrogen molecules.

Molecular diagrams of ethene molecule 

In an exam you need to be able to read a molecule diagram and know what they are.

For example

Ethene atomic shell structure 

Should be read as

C = Carbon atoms = 2

and 2 = ETH

Also double bond = Alkene
and Alkene = ENE

and you put the two together



So the above molecule means ETHENE

Alternatively, you could be told you are dealing with Butane.


and you need to work out what the molecule looks like

BUT (BUTE) = 4 Carbon Atoms

ANE = ALKANE = Single Bond

and you put the two together

4 Carbon Atoms + Single Bond

Would look like

Atomic shell structure of butane molecule 

Butane means C4H10


Meth   = 1 carbon atom

Eth       = 2 carbon atoms

Prop    = 3 carbon atoms

But      = 4 carbon atoms




-ane       = single carbon bond

-ene      = double carbon bond

-anol      = contains OH


Mammoth Chemistry

Links the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 to Meth, Eth, Prop and But by creating a picture of each number and linking that picture to Meth, Eth, Prop and But.

We learn that

1 = bun

2 = shoe

3 = tree

4 = door

(This is called the peg method).


          Meth = Me teeth
  Eth = Death
  Prop = Propeller
  But = Beautiful

We then connect the two

           1 = Bun
  Meth = Me teeth

Me teeth eating a bun (Meth = 1)

           2 = Shoe
  Eth = Death

Death wearing bright shoes (Eth = 2)

           3 = Tree
  Prop = Propeller

Propeller in a tree (Prop = 3)

           4 = Door
  But = Beautiful

Beautiful person in doorway (But = 4)

So now the word Prop means

Prop = Propeller = Tree = 3

Prop has 3 Carbon atoms

and this could mean we are dealing with either

Prop means this hydrocarbon contains 3 carbon atoms 

Mammoth memory chemistry

Links the words single bond and double bond to the words "anes" and "enes" by creating a picture of "SINGLE" and "double bond" and linking that picture to "anes" and "enes".

We learn that

           Single = Shingle
  Anes (Alkanes) = Cane (Walking cane)

Walking canes standing in a shingle beach (single (bond) = anes)

we learn that

           Double bond = Two James Bonds
  enes (Alkenes) = Queen

Our two Queens need two James Bonds (Double Bond = ene)


So now the word Prop-ene means

Prop = Propeller = Tree = 3

(Prop has 3 Carbon atoms)


ene = Queen = Two James Bond = Double Bond

So from this we know we are dealing with

Propene is a hydrocarbon with 3 carbon atoms and a double bond 

The following sections teach

The peg method

1  = bun

2  = shoe

3  = tree

4  = door

Alkanes = Canes = Shingle = Single
Alkenes = Queens = Two James Bonds = Double Bond
Meth = Me teeth eating a bun = Meth is 1 Carbon
Eth = Death with red shoes = Eth is 2
Prop = Propeller in a tree = Prop is 3
But = Beautiful in doorway = But is 4


So this allows you to know what is meant by methane, ethane, propane, and butane and also ethene, propene, and butene.

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