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BUTANE – An Organic Compound

Published Date : February 18, 2019

There are many organic compounds which are so indispensable in the preparation many useful components and chemicals. An organic compound is a chemical compound that contains a carbon atom or a chain of carbon atoms. Organic compounds are divided into alkanes, alkenes, alkynes and alkyls based on the carbon content and the saturation levels. Based on the number of carbons in the compound, the organic compounds are named as ethane, methane, propane etc. as the carbon chain has one, two and three carbon atoms in them respectively. Such organic compounds that have four atoms of carbon in its chain are known as butanes. The term butane refers to the unbranched structure of n-butane isomer. The chemical symbol of butane is C4H10 which denotes that there are four carbon atoms and ten hydrogen atoms. Butanes are produced synthetically from petroleum and used in the manufacture rubber and is used as a fuel and a refrigerator. Butanes are produced in natural gases and is a colourless gas with a faint petroleum like odour. More description and uses of butanes are as follows.

ISOMERS AND PHYSICAL PROPERTIES

All butanes have isomers (i.e. compounds that have the same molecular formula that different structural formula) that almost have similar properties as that of n-butane which is the normal butane. The isomer of n-butane is i-butane (or isobutane) which is called 2-methylpropane. The physical properties of butanes are as follows.

  • Butanes are colourless gases.
  • They have petroleum or natural gas-like odour.
  • Butanes are soluble in water.
  • The components of butanes are easily ignitable.
  • The vapours of butanes are heavier than air.
  • Increased contact with liquid can caused frostbite.

USES

The most primary use of butanes is the uses of butanes are listed below.

  • Normal butanes can be used as fuels, refrigerators and in gasoline blending.
  • In the manufacture of ethylene and butadiene which are vital constituents of synthetic rubber.
  • Isobutane is used in refineries to enhance motor gasoline.
  • Butanes are used as feedstock in petrochemicals in steam cracking.
  • They are used as a propellant in aerosol sprays and in some deodorants.
  • Butane torches are used as alternative for lighters.

HEALTH ISSUES AND RECENT TRENDS

Though butanes offer so much household and commercial uses, there are some serious disadvantages if they are misused. Higher inhalation of butanes may cause euphoria, drowsiness and narcosis. In some cases this may lead to further complications such as high blood pressure and temporary memory loss. When butane enters the blood it may cause immediate intoxication. When butanes attack the throat part, it can lead to serious expansion of throat known as laryngospam. These are some of the dangerous ill effects of butanes.