AskDefine | Define pentane

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  1. An aliphatic hydrocarbon of chemical formula C5H12; either of the three isomers n-pentane, methyl-butane (isopentane), and di-methyl-propane (neopentane); volatile liquids under normal conditions.


aliphatic hydrocarbon: C5H12
  • German: Pentan
  • Greek: πεντάνιο
  • Italian: pentano
  • Swedish: pentan

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

Pentane is any or one of the organic compounds with the formula C5H12. This alkane is a component of some fuels and is employed as a specialty solvent in the laboratory. Its properties are very similar to those of butane and hexane. It exists in three structural isomers, the branched isomers are called isopentane and neopentane.
The branched isomers are more stable. That is, 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.

Laboratory use

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 and alkyl-rich compounds are soluble in it. Pentane is miscible, however, with most common nonpolar solvents such as chlorocarbons, aromatics, and ethers.
One of its applications as a laboratory solvent is in liquid chromatography.


Pentane burns to form carbon dioxide and water:
C5H12 + 8 O2 → 5 CO2 + 6 H2O
As with 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.
While n-butane is the conventional feedstock in the production of maleic anhydride, pentane is also a substrate:
CH3CH2CH2CH2CH3 + 5 O2 → C2H2(CO)2O + 5 H2O + CO2

Industrial Uses

Pentane is one of the primary blowing agents used in the production of polystyrene foam.
pentane in Arabic: بينتان
pentane in Bosnian: Pentan
pentane in Danish: Pentan
pentane in German: Pentan
pentane in Modern Greek (1453-): Πεντάνιο
pentane in Spanish: Pentano
pentane in Esperanto: Pentano
pentane in French: Pentane
pentane in Italian: Pentano
pentane in Hebrew: פנטאן
pentane in Kurdish: Pentan
pentane in Latin: Pentanum
pentane in Latvian: Pentāns
pentane in Hungarian: Pentán
pentane in Dutch: Pentaan
pentane in Japanese: ペンタン
pentane in Polish: Pentan
pentane in Portuguese: Pentano
pentane in Russian: Пентан
pentane in Serbian: Пентан
pentane in Finnish: Pentaani
pentane in Swedish: Pentan
pentane in Vietnamese: Pentan
pentane in Chinese: 戊烷

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

alcohol, benzine, briquette, burnable, butane, carbon, charcoal, coal, coke, combustible, dope, ethane, ethanol, fireball, firing, flammable, flammable material, fuel, fuel additive, fuel dope, gas, gas carbon, gasoline, heptane, hexane, inflammable, inflammable material, isooctane, jet fuel, kerosene, methane, methanol, natural gas, octane, oil, paraffin, peat, propane, propellant, rocket fuel, turf
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