Why do some things dissolve in water, but others do not? How is it that liquids can dissolve other liquids? Due to the differing properties of the two substances, hexane is not soluble in water. Keep reading to find out why and learn some simple science!
What is hexane?
Hexane is a clear liquid that smells like gasoline. It is extracted from crude oil and petroleum and is commonly used with other solvents in edible oil extraction.
Notable properties include:
- Highly flammable
- Volatile (highly reactive)
Why is hexane not soluble in water?
Non-polar hexane is not soluble in water because water is polar.
For one substance to dissolve in another, they need to share the same polarity. This applies to gas, liquid, and solid states of matter, not just liquid solvents dissolving solid substances.
Polarity is defined by how evenly electrons are spread throughout the molecule. Water is polar because the oxygen atom attracts more electrons than the hydrogen atoms. As a result, the molecule has a positive charge near the hydrogen atoms and a negative charge near the oxygen atom.
Hexane is non-polar because there is very little difference in electronegativity between its atoms. Because it is made of non-polar molecules and water is made of polar molecules, they do not dissolve together. We call this being immiscible, or not mutually soluble.
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