noun, plural: hydrocarbon chains
A chain consisting of only carbon and hydrogen atoms
A hydrocarbon chain is an organic molecule consisting of nothing else but carbon and hydrogen atoms arranged in a chain. The carbon atoms are interconnected to each other by covalent bonding. And each carbon atom in the chain is bonded to one or up to three hydrogen atoms. Hydrocarbon chains are non-polar and therefore would not readily mix with polar molecules such as water.
There are many types of hydrocarbon chain. They may be classified, too, in many ways. One way of classifying them is if the chain is branched, linear, or cyclical. They may also be divided into alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, cycloalkanes, and arenes. They may also be categorized as aromatic or alipathic.
A hydrocarbon chain may also be classified as either saturated or unsaturated. A saturated hydrocarbon chain, as the name implies, is already saturated with hydrogen and therefore it would have no further affinity for more hydrogen. In contrast, an unsaturated hydrocarbon chain is one in which hydrogen atom can still be added in the chain by breaking the double-bond(s) that occur between carbon atoms.