A compound made solely of Carbon and Hydrogen atoms. In the molecule, all the Carbon atoms have single bonds, thus making them "saturated". The maximum number of Hydrogens that can be bound to a Carbon atom are 3. The minimum number is 2. Normally, the Carbon atoms are linked in a single chain structure and do not exhibit branching.

Counterexamples: Methane is a saturated hydrocarbon and has four hydrogens bonded to its carbon. Ethyne, formerly known as acetylene, is an unsaturated hydrocarbon, and has just one hydrogen on each carbon, as has the aromatic compound benzene. Naphthalene has less than one hydrogen per carbon. Isobutane, or 2-methyl-propane, is a fairly common branched saturated hydrocarbon.

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