The main difference between hexane and cyclohexane is their uses. While their atomic makeup at first appears similar, it can be challenging to apply that on a larger scale. If you’re interested in using either of these chemicals, read our blog post to learn more!
Properties of Hexane and Cyclohexane
Both hexane and cyclohexane are clear with a distinct detergent-like scent. Because both are highly flammable, proper storage and handling are essential.
Each of the chemicals is a saturated hydrocarbon, but cyclohexane is better for the environment. Because it has a higher boiling point than its counterpart, it is also less volatile and safer to use. However, the main area where these substances differ is their common uses.
Functions of Hexane
Hexane is used in both industrial and consumer settings. It’s most commonly used in the printing, shoemaking, automotive, and textile industries as a cleaning agent. Military and aerospace industries utilize the substance as a cleaning agent and solvent. It is also a popular solvent used in the oil extraction process for plant products such as soybeans.
Consumers may be more familiar with its use as an additive in gasoline, paint thinner, and adhesives.
Functions of Cyclohexane
Most often used to manufacture nylon, cyclohexane also has a variety of other functions. It is used as a solvent to dissolve lacquers, waxes, fats, and similar materials. It is also used to produce perfume.
The two chemicals share their usage in paint thinners and oil extraction, although they are usually used together in the extraction process. Cyclohexane has been proposed as an alternative to hexane in oil extraction, but its difficulty in being removed via methanol rinse complicates its integration.
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