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saturation

saturation, of an organic compound, condition occurring when its molecules contain no double or triple bonds and thus cannot undergo addition reactions. For example, ethane (H3CCH3) is a saturated compound. A compound is called unsaturated if it can undergo addition reactions. In the unsaturated compound ethene (H2C&eq;CH2), the carbon-carbon double bond readily reacts, e.g., with hydrogen to form ethane.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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