What is Hexane?

What is Hexane?

Hexane as a Solvent 

At its core, hexane is a naturally occurring chemical that is derived from crude oils. It is also a solvent, which means that hexane can serve as a solution that extracts materials from different substances. In the world of solvents, hexane is one of the most ideal and popular choices due to a variety of features. Hexane is also classified as a food-grade solvent, which means that it can be used in the production of edible oils.

Appeals of Hexane 

Chemical Traits:

Hexane’s popularity does not come without explanation. This solvent is appealing due to its wide range of ideal characteristics. First, hexane’s properties make it a great oil extractant – fats in oils are quite soluble in hexane, making it a great solvent to dissolve and separate materials. The chemical properties of hexane make it a safe and versatile option in the world of extraction. Hexane is capable of remaining a liquid at a wider range of temperatures than other materials, with a good boiling point. Thus, hexane can stay at a liquid state for longer, at a wider range of temperatures. In addition, lower energy is needed when separating oils from solids and using hexane as the extractant.


Hexane, as a food-grade solvent, is also ideal due to its aesthetics. Compared to other solvents, there is less odor and discomfort when interacting with hexane. More so, hexane helps to preserve a food or product’s original colors and does not induce undesirable tastes into the flavor of foods.


There are still downsides to hexane – mainly flammability and some toxic properties. Still, hexane is not as toxic as many other solvents and there are plenty of effective safety measures that can be put into place when using hexane.

Can You Use Hexane for Oil Extraction?

As a solvent, hexane is a great choice for oil extraction. Some oilseeds that use hexane for extraction include canola, cannabis, and soybean oils. In the plant extraction industry, hexane is a dominant player.  Hexane is used for various food products but using hexane for oil extraction is popular throughout a wide range of industries. In fact, a large amount of time and capital has already been invested into hexane usage.

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