Silanes - Structure Classification

Structure Classification

Saturated hydrosilicons can be:

  • linear (general formula SinH2n + 2) wherein the silicon atoms are joined in a snake-like structure
  • branched (general formula SinH2n + 2, n > 3) wherein the silicon backbone splits off in one or more directions
  • cyclic (general formula SinH2n, n > 2) wherein the silicon backbone is linked so as to form a loop.

According to the definition by IUPAC, the former two are silanes, whereas the third group is called cyclosilanes. Saturated hydrosilicons can also combine any of the linear, cyclic (e.g., polycyclic) and branching structures, and they are still silanes (no general formula) as long as they are acyclic (i.e., having no loops). They also have single covalent bonds between their silicons.

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