- Paraffins. A homologous series of saturated hydrocarbons having the general formula CnH2n+2. Their systematic names end in -ane. They are chemically inert, stable, and flammable. The first four members of the series (methane, ethane, propane, butane) are gases at ordinary temperatures; the next eleven are liquids, and form the main constituents of paraffin oil; the higher members are solids. Paraffin waxs consists mainly of higher alkanes.