Hexane is a colorless liquid, odorless when pure, and with boiling points approximately 69 °C (156 °F). It is widely used as a cheap, relatively safe, largely unreactive, and easily evaporated non-polar solvent.
Hexane, also known as N-hexane or CH3-[CH2]4-CH3, belongs to the class of organic compounds known as alkanes. These are acyclic branched or unbranched hydrocarbons having the general formula CnH2n+2 , and therefore consisting entirely of hydrogen atoms and saturated carbon atoms. Thus, is considered to be a hydrocarbon lipid molecule. exists as a solid and is considered to be practically insoluble (in water) and relatively neutral. has been detected in multiple biofluids, such as feces and saliva. Within the cell, is primarily located in the membrane (predicted from logP). is also a parent compound for other transformation products, including but not limited to, 3-hexanone, 5-iminohexane-1, 2, 3, 4, 6-pentol, and 3-mercaptohexanol, is an alkane tasting compound that can be found in a number of food items such as mollusks, fruits, mushrooms, and citrus. This makes a potential biomarker for the consumption of these food products. is a potentially toxic compound.
n-Hexane is a chemical made from crude oil. Pure n-Hexane is a colorless liquid with a slightly disagreeable odor. It is highly flammable, and its vapors can be explosive. Pure n-Hexane is used in laboratories. Most of the n-Hexane used in industry is mixed with similar chemicals called solvents. The major use for solvents containing n-Hexane is to extract vegetable oils from crops such as soybeans. These solvents are also used as cleaning agents in the printing, textile, furniture, and shoemaking industries. Certain kinds of special glues used in the roofing and shoe and leather industries also contain n-Hexane. Several consumer products contain n-Hexane, such as gasoline, quick-drying glues used in various hobbies, and rubber cement.
The main use of hexane is as a solvent to extract edible oils from seed and vegetable crops (e.g., soybeans, peanuts, corn). Hexane is also used as a cleaning agent (degreaser) in the printing industry.