● Alkanes: have low reactivity and undergo free radical substitution reactions.
● Alkenes: are more reactive than alkanes and undergo addition reactions. Bromine water can be
used to distinguish between alkenes and alkanes.
● Alcohols: undergo nucleophilic substitution reactions with acids (also called esterifi cation or
condensation) and some undergo oxidation reactions.
● Halogenoalkanes: are more reactive than alkanes. They can undergo (nucleophilic) substitution
reactions. A nucleophile is an electron-rich species containing a lone pair that it donates to an
electron-defi cient carbon.
● Polymers: addition polymers consist of a wide range of monomers and form the basis of the
● Benzene: does not readily undergo addition reactions but does undergo electrophilic substitution
Application and skills
● Writing equations for the complete and incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons.
● Explanation of the reaction of methane and ethane with halogens in terms of a free radical
substitution mechanism involving photochemical homolytic fi ssion.
● Writing equations for the reactions of alkenes with hydrogen and halogens and of symmetrical
alkenes with hydrogen halides and water.
● Outline of the addition polymerization of alkenes.
● Relationship between the structure of the monomer to the polymer and repeating unit.
● Writing equations for the complete combustion of alcohols.
● Writing equations for the oxidation reactions of primary and secondary alcohols (using acidifi ed
potassium dichromate(VI) or potassium manganate(VII) as oxidizing agents). Explanation of
distillation and refl ux in the isolation of the aldehyde and carboxylic acid products.
● Writing the equation for the condensation reaction of an alcohol with a carboxylic acid, in the
presence of a catalyst (e.g. concentrated sulfuric acid) to form an ester.
● Writing the equation for the substitution reactions of halogenoalkanes with aqueous sodium
● Reference should be made to initiation, propagation, and termination steps in free radical substitution
reactions. Free radicals should be represented by a single dot.
● The mechanisms of SN1 and SN2 and electrophilic substitution reactions are not required.
Oxidation of alcohols