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All animations / Methane animation.

ALL MOLECULAR GRAPHICS: METHANE: simplified graphic models of methane molecules, CH4

methane molecule, various views - different molecular models

(above) methane image # 1: picture showing four different models of a methane molecule. This image is 500 x 500 pixels; the original image is 2048 x 2048 pixels.

Top Left: "ball and stick" view with the central carbon atom (grey) with four equal covalent bonds (blue) radiating out and attaching to four hydrogen atoms (bright green). The yellowish cloud represents the molecular "surface" created from the constituent van der Waal's radii.

Top Right: emphasises the tetrahedral arrangement of hydrogen atoms using a regular tetrahedron (red).

Bottom Left: "space filling" view using the van der Waals radii of carbon (grey solid) and hydrogen (green glassy hemispheres) to produce the surfaces.

Bottom Right: central carbon atom (grey) shown as a sphere drawn at the scale of its covalent radius just touching four hydrogen atoms (green) drawn at the scale of their covalent radii. molecules of methane gas on blue

(above) methane image # 2: picture showing methane molecules in a gas. This image is 500 x 500 pixels; the original image is 2048 x 2048 pixels.

In each molecule, the central carbon atom (dark grey) is pictured as a sphere drawn at the scale of the carbon covalent radius just touching four hydrogen atoms (dark green) drawn at the scale of their covalent radii. The yellowish halo represents the "surface" of each molecule and is created from the van der Waals radii of the constituent atoms. methane gas molecules on black

(above) methane image # 3: picture showing methane molecules in a gas. This image is 500 x 500 pixels; the original image is 2048 x 2048 pixels.

In each molecule, the central carbon atom (light grey) is pictured as a sphere drawn at the scale of the carbon covalent radius just touching four hydrogen atoms (bright lime green) drawn at the scale of their covalent radii. The yellowish halo represents the "surface" of each molecule and is created from the van der Waals radii of the constituent atoms.

EXPLANATION OF METHANE IMAGES

    METHANE MOLECULE KEY:
  • grey spheres = carbon (C)
  • green spheres = hydrogen (H)
  • blue sticks = covalent C-H bonds
  • yellowish bubble = "surface" of the molecule created from the individual van der Waals surfaces

Methane the gas: methane is the first in a series of ALKANES, hydrocarbons that contain only single bonds (i.e. they are saturated hydrocarbons). Methane is a gas at normal temperatures. It is important as a greenhouse gas and as a fuel in natual gas.

Methane Structure: methane consists of a central carbon atom covalently bonded to four hydrogen atoms. The bonds radiate out, as far away from each other as possible, towards the vertices of a regular tetrahedron. This tetrahedral arrangement is illustrated at the top right of image #1, where a regular tetrahedron (drawn in red and centered on the carbon atom, which is not shown) has a hydrogen atom at each vertex. All of these images are pictures of highly simplified models.

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