Primary Carbon
Propan (Primäre Kohlenstoffatome) V1.svg
Structural formula of propane (primary carbons are highlighted red)

A primary carbon is a carbon atom which is bound to only one other carbon atom.[1] It is thus at the end of a carbon chain. In case of an alkane, three hydrogen atoms are bound to a primary carbon (see propane in the figure on the right). A hydrogen atom could also be replaced by a hydroxy group, which would make the molecule a primary alcohol.[2]

primary carbon secondary carbon tertiary carbon quaternary carbon
General structure
(R = Organyl group)
frameless=1.0 frameless=1.0 frameless=1.0 frameless=1.0
Structural formula
frameless=1.0 frameless=1.0 frameless=1.0 frameless=1.0


  1. ^ Smith, Janice Gorzynski (2011). "Chapter 4 Alkanes". Organic chemistry (Book) (3rd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-07-337562-5.
  2. ^ Hans Peter Latscha, Uli Kazmaier, Helmut Alfons Klein (2016), Organische Chemie: Chemie-Basiswissen II (in German) (7. Auflage ed.), Berlin: Springer Spektrum, p. 40, ISBN 978-3-662-46180-8CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)