−138.4 °C (135.4 K)
−0.5 °C (272.6 K)
Butane is a gas with the formula C4H10, that is, an alkane with four carbon atoms. The term may refer to any of two structural isomers, or to a mixture of them: in the IUPAC nomenclature, however, butane refers only to the unbranched n-butane isomer; the other one being called "methylpropane" or isobutane.
Butanes are highly flammable, colorless, easily liquefied gases. The name butane comes from the roots but- (from butyric acid) and -ane.
Rotation about the central C-C bond produces two different conformations (trans and gauche) for n-butane.
When oxygen is plentiful, butane burns to form carbon dioxide and water vapor; when oxygen is limited, carbon (soot) or carbon monoxide may also be formed.
The maximum adiabatic flame temperature of butane with air is 2,243 K (1,970 °C; 3,578 °F).
n-Butane is the feedstock for DuPont's catalytic process for the preparation of maleic anhydride:
n-Butane, like all hydrocarbons, undergoes free radical chlorination providing both 1-chloro- and 2-chlorobutanes, as well as more highly chlorinated derivatives. The relative rates of the chlorination is partially explained by the differing bond dissociation energies, 425 and 411 kJ/mol for the two types of C-H bonds. The two central carbon atoms have the slightly weaker C-H bonds.
Butane gas is sold bottled as a fuel for cooking and camping. When blended with propane and other hydrocarbons, it is referred to commercially as LPG. It is also used as a petrol component, as a feedstock for the production of base petrochemicals in steam cracking, as fuel for cigarette lighters and as a propellant in aerosol sprays such as deodorants.
Very pure forms of butane, especially isobutane, can be used as refrigerants and have largely replaced the ozone layer-depleting halomethanes, for instance in household refrigerators and freezers. The system operating pressure for butane is lower than for the halomethanes, such as R-12, so R-12 systems such as in automotive air conditioning systems, when converted to butane will not function optimally.
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