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Systematic name Ethane
Other names

ethyl hydride

Molecular formula C2H6
Molar mass Molar mass::30.07 g/mol
Appearance colorless gas
CAS number CAS number::74-84-0
Density and phase [[Density::1.212 kg/m3]], gas
Solubility in water 4.7 g/100 ml (45 °C)
Melting point Melting point::-182.76 °C
Boiling point Boiling point::-88.6 °C
Acidity (pKa) 50
Basicity (pKb) 23
Chiral rotation [α]D 34°
Viscosity 34 cP at 56°C
Molecular shape Linear
Symmetry group Staggered phase: D3d
MSDS External MSDS Data
Main hazards Highly flammable
NFPA 704

NFPA 704 svg.png

Flash point -135 °C
R/S statement R: 12
S: 2, 9, 16, 33
RTECS number KH3800000
Related compounds
Related alkanes


Related compounds Ethanol
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Disclaimer and references

Ethane is the only compound, which consists of two carbons and its chemical formula is C2H6. For this reason, ethane is also known as alphatic hydrocarbon. [1] As a byproduct of petroleum refining, the uses of ethane are distinguishable from other uses of natural gases. Ethane is the most widely used when producing ethylene as a petrochemical feedstock. [2] Besides its uses, another particular character of ethane is that its tendency to be colorless and odorless in the state of gas when a standard temperature and a standard pressure were given.[3]


At room temperature, ethane is in the state of flammable gas. However, when a certain amount of air is given and mixed with ethane, it becomes an explosive mixture. For this reason, additional cautions are always recommended. When one uses ethane in the state of cryogenic liquid, wearing safety gloves is necessary.[4] Because when a direct contact is made between bare hands and cryogenic liquid, one may get frostbite. The vapors that evaporated from cryogenic liquid also posses a lot of dangers. When such vapors are in contact of any ignite substances, it may cause a conflagration. [5]


Ethane is one of the components of natural gas. Its percentage in natural gas is the second-largest after methane. [6] In the past, specifically before the 1960s, no such a method distinguishing ethane from methane in natural gas was invented. However, in the 1970s, as a method distinguishing ethane was invented, ethane's role in the filed of chemistry industry became great. [7] Today, in many fields of chemistry industry, ethane is used as a petrochemical feedstock. As a demand for ethane increased, in the 1980s, a method of separating ethane from petroleum gas was also invented. Many scientists assume that such a demand for ethane may be greater in the future. [8]


Ehane is one of the compounds used the most frequently in the field of industrial chemistry today. [9] Many scientists also assume that more uses of ethane will be discovered in the future. One of the chief uses of ethane can be found in the cryogenic refrigeration systems. In such systems, ethane is uses as a refrigerant. In the scientific research, ethane, which is in the state of liquid, is used to vitrify water-rich samples for electron microscopy. [10] Another important use of ethane is in the process of producing ethylene through steam cracking. Ethylene, produced through such a process, is used widely in the many areas of industrial chemistry.[11]