|In the absence of oxygen, high temperatures can cause large alkane
molecules to break apart and form smaller ones. This kind of reaction is called pyrolysis
or cracking. It is part of what goes on in oil refineries changing crude oil into gasoline
and other products.
This is just one of many possible examples.
C16H34 ® C8H18
Note that C8H16 is an alkene (next lesson) rather
than an alkane.