Hydrocarbon Nomenclature and Representations

Time to complete course: 20 min.

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About Hydrocarbon Nomenclature and Representations Virtual Lab Simulation

This simulation was adapted from the original, longer “Organic Chemistry Introduction” simulation. See the full-length simulation for more information.

What’s in a name? In this simulation, you will learn how to name the hydrocarbons – the core part of organic compounds. You will also be challenged with various ways of representing chemical structures in 2D, and learn to decide when to use which one.

Organic chemical compounds

You will start off by meeting with Simon, who’s having trouble figuring out the ins and outs of the fundamentals within organic chemistry. He’s especially lost on how the naming works – which is known as the nomenclature. Perhaps you will be able to sort him out?

Match 2D structure with name and 3D visualization

In the lab, you join forces with Dr. One, who will support and test you on your mission. Begin by suiting up for the lab and getting a quick briefing on how the nomenclature works for hydrocarbons. Then dive straight in to the challenge of figuring out the appropriate name for a given 2D structure, helped by 3D molecular visualization on your holotable.

A chemical formula type for every need

In the challenge above, you’ll be exposed to a specific type of 2D representation of molecules. There are several other types of these representations, though; also called formula. Which one is appropriate to use when? You will explore this on the lab’s interactive wall screen, where you need to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the common types of formula.

Return to Simon

Armed with all your new knowledge, you will return to Simon to share all you’ve learnt. It’s a tricky topic though, but luckily you can repeat the experience if you want to drive the points in even further. Will you be able to solve the hydrocarbon nomenclature challenge?


  • Organic Chemistry Introduction: Learn about organic compounds
  • Carbon Valence, Hybridization and Angles
  • Functional Groups and Basic Chemical Tests

Get Started Now

Join Dr. One on a mission to figure out how to systematically name hydrocarbons and interpret and use the various core formula types for organic compounds.

Techniques in Lab

Learning Objectives

  • Apply the nomenclature of simple hydrocarbons to given 2D and 3D structures
  • Interpret the core formula types for organic compounds
  • Decide the appropriate chemical formula type to use for a given hydrocarbon

Simulation Features

Length – 20 minutes
Languages – English

Examples of Related Standards


Chemistry related 1st year onwards


HS-PS1-3, HS-PS1-6


10.1 Fundamentals of organic chemistry
10.2 Functional group chemistry
20.1 Types of organic reactions


Unit 2: Ionic Compounds Structure and Properties

Screenshots of Hydrocarbon Nomenclature and Representations Virtual Lab Simulation


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