Butyne: Structural Formula & Isomers

Instructor: Laura Foist

Laura has a Masters of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition and has taught college Science.

In this lesson we will learn about butyne and the structure of butyne. We will look at the different isomers of butyne and how the different isomers affects the reactivity of the molecule.

Butyne Introduction and Structure

Butyne is a colorless gas that is very flammable and is a compounds that can easily create a loud boom. All it takes is for the container of butyne to be exposed to heat for an extended period of time and it we would have a violent explosion!

Butyne is a compound with the chemical formula of C4H6. We know it has four carbon atoms from the 'but' portion of the name which means four. The 'yne' refers to a triple bond. So somewhere in the compound is a triple bond. Carbon based compounds with a triple bond are called alkynes. With two carbon atoms sharing so many electrons in the triple bond it creates a linear configuration. The bond is very short and strong. Internal carbon atoms participating in a triple bond are fully unsaturated, so there are no carbon-hydrogen bonds.

Butyne Isomers

Butyne has two isomers. An isomer are two compounds that have the same chemical formula, but different connections between the atoms.

The two isomers of butyne differ based on where the triple bond is located. It can either be located at the first carbon or at the second carbon. The third carbon does not count as another isomer because if we start counting from the other end the triple bond is actually located at the second carbon. To name these two isomers we simply indicate where the triple bond is using the number where the triple bond begins. So we get 1-butyne and 2-butyne.

1-Butyne puts the triple bond on the terminal carbon, allowing a hydrogen to be available

Typically if we simply refer to Butyne we are referring to 1-Butyne since when there is not a number identifying where the alkyne is we assume it is on the first carbon. It is also known as But-1-yne and Ethyl acetylene. Since the alkyne is on the carbon one it is referred to as a terminal alkyne. Since it is a terminal alkyne there is a hydrogen present. This hydrogen can be removed with a very strong base such as the amide ion.

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