Hexane: Structure, Formula & Properties

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  • 0:01 What is Hexane?
  • 0:58 Structure And Formula…
  • 2:30 Properties of Hexane
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Reid

Danielle has taught middle school science and has a doctorate degree in Environmental Health

Did you know that hexane plays a role in the production of different vegetable oils stored in our cupboards? Explore this lesson to learn more about the organic molecule hexane, its structure, formula, and properties.

What Is Hexane?

Hexane is commonly used to the extract oils we use on an everyday basis from a variety of vegetables and their seeds. When refined, hexane liquid can be produced from crude oil, a substance found deep beneath the earth's surface. It's also found in the adhesives used to make shoes and can be used to remove oil from tough surfaces.

Hexane is a type of hydrocarbon that consists of six carbon atoms surrounded by 14 hydrogen atoms. Like any compound ending in '-ane', hexane is an alkane. It is commonly referred to as n-hexane and classified as a saturated hydrocarbon. Saturated compounds contain single bonds that link carbon atoms to each other, as well as carbon atoms to hydrogen atoms. An unsaturated compound is a saturated compound that contains double or triple bonds but no single bonds. Let's look at the difference between a saturated and unsaturated organic compound.

Diagram One: Examples of (a) Saturated and (b) Unsaturated Organic Compounds
alkane unsaturated

Structure And Formula Of Hexane

The molecular formula for hexane is C6H14. Each carbon atom is single bonded to a hydrogen atom. Now, let's look at the molecular geometrical shape of hexane. Here, the white balls represent the hydrogen atoms, and the black balls represent the carbon atoms. The black rods connecting each ball are bonds.

When you look at the molecular geometry of a molecule, such as hexane, you can see how the atoms are spaced in relation to one another. In hexane, they form a tetrahedron or a 't' shape, with each of the six carbon atoms surrounded by four different bonds.

Diagram Two: Molecular Structure of Hexane

The bond angle formed between each of the hydrogen atoms surrounding the individual carbon atoms is 109.5. Bond angle is another way to understand the structure of an organic molecule; by knowing at what angle a bond forms between atoms, you can see how far apart or close they are when bonded.

Diagram Three: Molecular Geometry Of Hexane
molecular geometry

Hexane has four different isomers: 2-methylpentane, 3-methylpenatne, 2,2,-dimethyl butane, and 2,3-dimethyl butane. Here is the structure of each isomer, a molecule that can change in structure while maintaining its molecular formula. Although the molecular formula of hexane is the same in each isomer (C6H14), the rearrangement of atoms and bonds makes each one different from the others. For example, the methyl group, or CH3, is attached to the third carbon atom in hexane's isomer 3-methylpentane and the second carbon atom in the isomer 2-methylpentane.

Diagram Four: Molecular Structure of Hexane

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