aliphatic compound ăl˝əfăt´ĭk [key], any of a large class of organic compounds whose carbon atoms are joined together in straight or branched open chains rather than in rings. The hydrocarbons of the alkane , alkene , and alkyne series are aliphatic compounds, as are fatty acids and many other compounds. Most compounds containing rings are aromatic compounds ; compounds that contain a ring but are not aromatic compounds are called alicyclic.
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