What organic compound is the simplest hydroxyl-bearing aliphatic
hydrocarbon? Let’s break this question down into smaller more manageable parts. We’ve been asked to find a hydrocarbon which is a molecule containing mostly
carbon and hydrogen. We’re also told that our molecule needs to contain a hydroxyl group and
hydroxyl group can be written OH. Our molecule also needs to be aliphatic. This means that our compound cannot contain any aromatic rings. This means that an aliphatic compound can contain straight chains, branched
chains, or cycles as long as they’re nonaromatic rings. It could also contain a mixture of these things. The compound we’re looking for also needs to be the simplest of these
hydrocarbons. So we’re looking for the one with the fewest carbon atoms. The easiest way to do this is to select a compound with just one carbon. We know that carbon forms four bonds. One of these bonds needs to be connecting the carbon to a hydroxyl group. To ensure that our final molecule is the simplest hydrocarbon, let’s fill the
other bonds in with hydrogens. So here, we have the structural representation of the organic compound which is
the simplest hydroxyl-bearing aliphatic hydrocarbon. But to answer this question fully, we need to give its name.
For hydroxyl group, means that the name ends in -ol. Remember as well that the prefix meaning one carbon is “-meth.” So, the compound name begins with “meth-” and ends in “-ol.” So we just have to work out what to put in the middle. Because the backbone of this compound is technically an alkene, we can add
“an.” And this gives us the final name of our compound, methanol. You may also have heard methanol referred to as methyl alcohol. This answer is also correct.