Hexane is a non-polar organic compound that consists of six carbon atoms and fourteen hydrogen atoms. Hexane, which is derived from crude oil and petroleum, has multiple isomers. Isomers are compounds that have identical chemical formulas but the atoms of the compound are arranged differently. One example of an isomer of hexane is n-Hexane, a solvent used for similar applications.
Difference Between Hexane and n-Hexane Uses
In chemistry, having a different arrangement of atoms is known to sometimes change the physical or chemical properties of compounds. So, even though the original compound and its isomer have the same chemical formula, they may behave differently as solvents.
For example, hexane has a branched structure, while n-hexane, an isomer of hexane, has an unbranched structure. This means that n-hexane will have a lower boiling point, making it more suitable for certain processes, such as oil extraction.
While some isomers can be used interchangeably for many of the same applications, hexane is generally used as an industrial cleaning and degreasing solvent because of its aggressive cleaning properties. It’s also commonly used in the following processes:
- Production of shoe adhesives
- Production of leather materials
- Additive in gasoline
- Additive in glue
- Additive in various inks
On the other hand, N-hexane is primarily used in oil and fat extraction processes, usually to produce vegetable oils. Due to its lower boiling point and slow evaporation rate, it is a very effective and suitable solvent for the extraction of edible oils.
This extraction process generally involves mixing the solvent with the vegetable product and boiling the solution to evaporate the solvent, resulting in the desired oil as the final product.
Benefits of n-Hexane
Here are only a few of the benefits associated with the use of this isomer:
- Easy oil recovery
- Low boiling point
- Low solubility
- Ideal for edible oil extraction, such as from canola, soybean, peanuts, corn, rapeseed, etc.
Looking for Industrial-Grade Solvents for Extraction?
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