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IUPAC name pentane
Other names n-pentane
amyl hydride
CAS number 109-66-0
RTECS number RZ9450000
Molecular formula C5H12
Molar mass 72.15 g/mol
Appearance Colourless liquid
Density 0.626 g/cm³, liquid
Melting point

−129.8 °C (143 K)

Boiling point

36.1 °C (308 K)

Solubility in water 0.01 g/100 ml (20 °C)
Acidity (pKa) ~45
Viscosity 0.240 cP at 20 °C
MSDS External MSDS
Main hazards Highly flammable (F+)
NFPA 704
R/S statement R: R12, R51/53, R65,
R66, R67
S: (S2), S9, S16,
S29, S33, S61, S62
Flash point −49 °C
Related Compounds
Related alkanes Butane, Isopentane,
Neopentane, Hexane
Related compounds Cyclopentane
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

Pentane, also known as amyl hydride or skellysolve A is an alkane hydrocarbon. It is a liquid commodity chemical compound, mainly used as fuel and as a solvent.


Molecular structure

The conformation (shape) of pentane is linear, similar to that of butane, but one carbon atom longer.


Pentane is one of three structural isomers with the molecular formula C5H12, the others being isopentane and neopentane.

pentane isopentane neopentane

The branched isomers are more stable than pentane, which means that they have lower heat of formation and heat of combustion. Isopentane is more stable than pentane by 1.8 kcal/mol, and neopentane by 5 kcal/mol.[1]

A related cycloalkane is cyclopentane, although this is not an isomer of pentane as its molecular formula is different − cyclopentane is an isomer of the pentenes.


Being an unfunctionalized hydrocarbon, pentane is a commodity chemical. It is mainly a fuel and a solvent, although it also could be used as a source of H2 via steam reforming.

As the most volatile hydrocarbon that is liquid at room temperature, pentane is often used in the laboratory as a solvent that can be conveniently evaporated. Also because of its nonpolarity and lack of functionality, its dissolving power is poor, thus only non-polar or alkyl-rich compounds are soluble in it. Pentane is completely miscible, however, with many common solvents such as chlorocarbons, aromatics, ethers, but not short chain amines or short chain alcohols.


Pentane burns to form carbon dioxide and water:

C5H12 + 8 O2 → 5 CO2 + 6 H2O

When oxygen is limited, carbon, partially oxidized carbon (soot), and carbon monoxide are also formed.

As for other hydrocarbons, pentane undergoes free radical chlorination:

C5H12 + Cl2 → C5H11Cl + HCl

Such reactions are unselective, yielding a mixture of the 1-, 2-, and 3-chloropentanes, as well as more highly chlorinated derivatives. Other radical halogenations can also occur.

Whereas n-butane is the conventional feedstock in duPont's synthesis maleic anhydride, pentane is also a substrate:

CH3CH2CH2CH2CH3 + 5 O2 → C2H2(CO)2O + 5 H2O + CO2


  1. ^ From the values listed at Standard enthalpy change of formation (data table).
  • Molview from See pentane in 3D
  • Material Safety Data Sheet for Pentane
  • Phytochemical database entry
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pentane". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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