Silanes refers to diverse kinds of charge-neutral silicon compounds with the formula SiR4. The R substituents can any combination of organic or inorganic groups. Most silanes contain Si-C bonds, and are discussed under organosilicon compounds.
- Silane SiH4, the parent.
- Binary silicon-hydrogen compounds (which are sometimes called silanes also) includes silane itself but also compounds with Si-Si bonds including disilane and longer chains.
- Silanes with one, two, three, or four Si-H bonds are called hydrosilanes. Silane itself is the parent member. Examples: triethylsilane (HSi(C2H5)3) and triethoxysilane (HSi(OC2H5)3).
- Polysilanes are organosilicon compounds with the formula (R2Si)n. They include all binary silicon-hydrogen compounds except the parent, although these tend to be less useful because they are fragile. Attracting more interest, are the organic derivatives such as polydimethylsilane ((CH3)2Si)n) and dodecamethylcyclohexasilane ((CH3)2Si)6)
- Chlorosilanes have Si-Cl bonds. Examples: trichlorosilane (SiHCl3) and tetrachlorosilane (SiCl4)
- Organosilanes are a class of charge-neutral organosilicon compounds. Example: tetramethylsilane (Si(CH3)4)
By tradition, compounds with Si-O-Si bonds are usually not referred to as silanes. Instead, they are called siloxanes. One example is hexamethyldisiloxane, (CH3)3Si)2O.