What Is the Definition of Cyclic Hydrocarbons?

The definition of a cyclic hydrocarbon is a hydrocarbon in which the carbon chain joins to itself in a ring-shaped pattern. The high-level types of cyclic hydrocarbons include cycloalkanes, cycloalkenes and cycloalkynes.

Different types of cyclic hydrocarbons have different chemical bonds. According to the CK-12 Foundation, cycloalkanes are saturated and only have single bonds among carbon to carbon linkages and have a general formula of CnH2n. Cycloalkenes are unsaturated and have at least one carbon to carbon double bond. A cycloalkyne has at least one carbon to carbon triple bond.

Simple cycloalkanes, such as cyclopropane, are unstable due to their small bond angles. The closer a cycloalkane gets to the ideal bond angle of 109.5 degrees, the more stable it becomes.