Alpha-olefins (or α-olefins) are a family of organic compounds which are olefins or alkenes with a chemical formula CxH2x, distinguished by having a double bond at the primary or alpha (α) position. See the illustration below. This location of a double bond enhances the reactivity of the compound and makes it useful for a number of applications.
There are two types of alpha-olefins, branched and linear (or normal). The chemical properties of branched alpha-olefins with a branch at either the second (vinylidene) or the third carbon number are significantly different from the properties of linear alpha-olefins and those with branches on the fourth carbon number and further from the start of the chain.