Propane

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−187.7 °C, 85 K, -306 °F ([1][3])

−42.1 °C, 231 K, -44 °F ([1][3])

Propane is a three-carbon alkane, normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves and residential central heating.

A mixture of propane and butane, used mainly as vehicle fuel, is commonly known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or LP gas). It may also contain small amounts of propylene and/or butylene. An odorant such as ethanethiol or thiophene is added so that people can easily smell the gas in case of a leak.

Contents

History

Propane was first identified as a volatile component in gasoline by Dr. Walter O. Snelling of the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1910. The volatility of these lighter hydrocarbons caused them to be known as "wild" because of the high vapor pressures of unrefined gasoline. On March 31 the New York Times reported on Dr. Snelling's work with liquefied gas and that "...a steel bottle will carry enough [gas] to light an ordinary home for three weeks."[4]

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