An alkyl group is the general name for groups of hydrocarbons used in the naming of larger hydrocarbon molecules. They are formed when a hydrocarbon chain loses a hydrogen atom, reducing the net charge of the alkyl to -1.
Some examples from within the alkyl group are:
- methyl (CH3 - ), derived from methane
- ethyl (CH3CH2 - ), derived from ethane
- propyl (CH3CH2CH2 - ), derived from propane
- isopropyl (CH3CH-CH3 - ), also derived from propane
With the last two examples, the naming difference is due to the carbon atom that lost the hydrogen atom. In the case of propyl, one of the carbon atoms at the end of the chain lost the hydrogen atom, whereas in isopropyl, the center carbon lost the hydrogen.
- Solomon's Organic Chemistry, Fifth Edition