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Chemical compound

Butane is a hydrocarbon with molecular formula C4H10. It is an alkane and found in gaseous state at room temperature.

In other words, we can define butane as a member of the paraffin hydrocarbon series (or alkane series) which has 4 carbon atoms and 10 hydrogen atoms. Butane is a saturated hydrocarbon as single bonds are found between all carbon atoms of butane.

Butane Structure

Properties of Butane

Physical properties of butane are listed below :

- Its molecular formula

is C4H10 and empirical formula is C2H5.

- Boiling point of butane is -1 to 1℃.

- It is highly flammable.

- It is gas at room temperature and atmospheric pressure.

- It is a colorless gas.

- It has an odor like gasoline.

- It can be easily liquified and liquified butane gas can be easily converted into vapor at room temperature.

- Molar mass of butane is 58.124g/mol.

- Its density is 2.48kg/m3 at 15℃.

- It is very less soluble in water. Its solubility in water is 61mg per liter at 68℉.

Chemical Properties of Butane

Chemical properties of butane are listed below:

- Reaction with oxygen – Butane reacts with oxygen and forms carbon dioxide and water vapor. Reaction is given below -

2C4H10 + 13O2 🡪 8CO2 + 10H2O + Energy

- If the amount of oxygen is limited, then it forms carbon monoxide and water vapor. Reaction is given below –

2C4H10 + 13O2 🡪 8CO2 + 10H2O

- Reaction with chlorine – Butane reacts with chlorine and forms butyl chloride and HCl. Reaction is given below –

2C4H10 + Cl2 🡪 C4H9Cl + HCl

- Reaction with iodine – Butane reacts with iodine and forms 2-iodobutane and hydrogen iodide. Reaction is given below –

2C4H10 + I2 🡪 C4H9I + HI

Production of Butane

Butane is a fossil fuel produced naturally by dead remains of the plants and animals deep inside the earth. It is found as natural gas deep inside the earth. We obtain butane by fractional distillation of crude oil. During this process we get many other products as well such as kerosene, diesel, heavy gas oil etc.

Fractional distillation is the process of separating various components of a liquid mixture on the basis of their different boiling points using a fractionating column. Fractional distillation of crude oil is also called petroleum refining.

Uses of Butane

Butane is a fossil fuel and is very useful in many fields:

- Fuel for various purposes.

- It is one of the components of LPG (Liquified petroleum gas).

- For gasoline blending.

- It is a key raw material of synthetic rubber.

- Isobutane is used in refineries.

- In steam cracking.

- In deodorants or aerosol sprays as propellant.

- As fuel in cigarette lighters.

- In air conditioning systems.

- As fuel in a butane torch .

- Fuel in camping stoves, barbecues etc. Although transportation of butane must be done very carefully.

- Butane is not a greenhouse gas and does not produce smoke on burning. It does not affect the ozone layer of the atmosphere as well. Therefore, we can say, butane is an environmentally friendly gas or fuel.


Further Resources



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