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Other names n-Hexane
CAS number 110-54-3
RTECS number MN9275000
Molecular formula C6H14
Molar mass 86.18 g/mol
Appearance colorless liquid
Density 0.6548 g/ml, liquid
Melting point

−95 °C (178 K)

Boiling point

69 °C (342 K)

Solubility in water immiscible
Viscosity 0.294 cP at 25 °C
MSDS External MSDS
EU classification Flammable (F)
Harmful (Xn)
Repr. Cat. 3
Dangerous for
the environment (N)
NFPA 704
R-phrases R11, R38, R48/20, R62,
R65, R67, R51/53
S-phrases (S2), S9, S16, S29, S33,
S36/37, S61, S62
Flash point −23.3 °C
233.9 °C
Related Compounds
Related alkanes Pentane
Related compounds Cyclohexane
Supplementary data page
Structure and
n, εr, etc.
Phase behaviour
Solid, liquid, gas
Spectral data UV, IR, NMR, MS
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

Hexane is an alkane hydrocarbon with the chemical formula CH3(CH2)4CH3. The "hex" prefix refers to its six carbons, while the "ane" ending indicates that its carbons are connected by single bonds. Hexane isomers are largely unreactive, and are frequently used as an inert solvent in organic reactions because they are very non-polar. They are also common constituents of gasoline and glues used for shoes, leather products and roofing. Additionally, it is used in solvents to extract oils for cooking and as a cleansing agent for shoe, furniture and textile manufacturing.



Hexane has five isomers:[1]

  • Hexane, CH3CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3, a straight chain of six carbon atoms.
  • 2-Methylpentane (Isohexane), CH3CH(CH3)CH2CH2CH3, a five-carbon chain with one methyl branch on the second.
  • 3-Methylpentane, CH3CH2CH(CH3)CH2CH3, a five-carbon chain with one methyl branch on the third.
  • 2,3-Dimethylbutane, CH3CH(CH3)CH(CH3)CH3, a four-carbon chain with one methyl branch on the second and third.
  • 2,2-Dimethylbutane, CH3C(CH3)2CH2CH3, a four-carbon chain with two methyl branches on the second.


Hexane is produced by the refining of crude oil. The exact composition of the fraction depends largely on the source of the oil (crude or reformed) and the constraints of the refining. The industrial product (usually around 50% by weight of the straight-chain isomer) is the fraction boiling at 65–70 °C.


The acute toxicity of hexane is relatively low, although it is a mild anesthetic. Inhalation of high concentrations produces first a state of mild euphoria, followed by somnolence with headaches and nausea.

Chronic intoxication from hexane has been observed in recreational solvent abusers and in workers in the shoe manufacturing, furniture restoration and automobile construction industries. The initial symptoms are tingling and cramps in the arms and legs, followed by general muscular weakness. In severe cases, atrophy of the skeletal muscles is observed, along with a loss of coordination and problems of vision.

Similar symptoms are observed in animal models. They are associated with a degeneration of the peripheral nervous system (and eventually the central nervous system), starting with the distal portions of the longer and wider nerve axons. The toxicity is not due to hexane itself but to one of its metabolites, hexane-2,5-dione. It is believed that this reacts with the amino group of the side chain of lysine residues in proteins, causing cross-linking and a loss of protein function.

The effects of hexane poisoning in humans are uncertain. In 1994, n-hexane was included in the list of chemicals on the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).[2] In the latter part of the 20th and early part of the 21st centuries, a number of explosions have been attributed to the combustion of hexane gas. In 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued regulations on the control of emissions of hexane gas due to its potential carcinogenic properties and environmental concerns.[3]

See also


  1. ^ C5 and C6 alkanes. A and B Scott Organic Chemistry. Retrieved on 2007-10-30.
  2. ^ N-Hexane Chemical Backgrounder. National Safety Council. Retrieved on 25 May 2007.
  3. ^ Anuradee Witthayapanyanon and Linh Do. Nanostructured Microemulsions as Alternative Solvents to VOCs in Cleaning Technologies and Vegetable Oil Extraction. National Center For Environmental Research. Retrieved on 25 May 2007.
  • Institut national de recherche et de sécurité. (2005). "Hexane". Fiche toxicologique n° 113, 8pp. (in French)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hexane". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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