n -Butane

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Structural formula
Structural formula of butane
Surname n -Butane
other names
Molecular formula C 4 H 10
Brief description

colorless, almost odorless gas

External identifiers / databases
CAS number 106-97-8
EC number 203-448-7
ECHA InfoCard 100.003.136
PubChem 7843
ChemSpider 7555
Wikidata Q134192
Molar mass 58.12 g mol −1
Physical state


  • 0.6011 g cm −3 (liquid, at boiling point)
  • 2.71 g l −1 (gaseous, 0 ° C, 1013 hPa)
Melting point

−138.3 ° C

boiling point

−0.5 ° C

Vapor pressure

208 k Pa (20 ° C)


very bad in water (61 mg l −1 at 20 ° C)

Dipole moment


safety instructions
GHS hazard labeling from  Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 (CLP) , expanded if necessary
02 - Highly / extremely flammable 04 - gas bottle


H and P phrases H: 220-280
P: 210-377-381-403

2400 mg m −3 , 1000 ml m −3

Toxicological data
  • 658 mg l −1 ( LC 50rat , inhalation, 4 h )
As far as possible and customary, SI units are used. Unless otherwise noted, the data given apply to standard conditions .

n -Butane is a gaseous colorless alkane that represents the straight-chain form of the two structural isomers (CH 3 –CH 2 –CH 2 –CH 3 ). Its isomer is the isobutane CH (CH 3 ) 3 (IUPAC name: methylpropane).


Butane is gaseous at room temperature and normal pressure and has a melting point of −138 ° C and a boiling point of −0.5 ° C. Butane is heavier than air and has a narcotic to suffocating effect in high concentrations. Butane is almost insoluble in water (90 mg / l). n -Butane has a flash point of −60 ° C and an ignition temperature of 365 ° C. The explosion range of n -butane in air lies between the lower explosion limit (LEL) of 1.4 vol% (33 g m −3 ) and the upper explosion limit (UEL) of 9.4 vol% (231 g · M −3 ). The calorific value is 12.69 kWh · kg −1 , which corresponds to 32.31 kWh · m −3 . The volume is to be understood as a standard cubic meter at a temperature of 0 ° C and a pressure of 101.325 kPa.

Bromine water and potassium permanganate solution are not discolored by n- butane. Like other alkanes , n- butane usually does not react with the halogens chlorine and bromine . Under the influence of light, however, a mixture of different chlorobutanes or bromobutanes is formed photochemically through a radical chain reaction .

Use and manufacture

Butane is a so-called liquefied gas that is produced during the distillation of crude oil. It occurs in oil and natural gas .

Butane is used to produce 1,3-butadiene and maleic anhydride and has been used as a propellant in sprays since the CFC ban . ( Food additive E 943a) In a mixture with varying proportions of methyl propane and / or propane , butane is used as a fuel gas ("liquid gas") for heating and cooking in tanks and gas bottles as well as in lighters . Butane-containing liquefied petroleum gas is also used as fuel for buses and cars.


Under ideal conditions, butane oxidizes to carbon dioxide and water .

Use as a drug

Butane is used as a drug . The effect can be compared with similar sniff substances and is primarily sought by young people.

Consumption can lead to an insufficient supply of oxygen, as the denser butane settles in the lungs and thus the usable lung volume decreases. It can lead to nausea, vomiting and, in the worst case, significant brain damage. There is a danger to life if the brain pressure increases. The susceptibility to seizures can be increased by lowering the seizure threshold. Psychological dependence is possible. A highly explosive gas-air mixture can also occur in closed rooms and vehicles.


  • Geert Oldenburg: Propane - Butane. Springer, Berlin 1955.

Web links

Wiktionary: Butane  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Butane  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Entry on E 943a: Butane in the European database for food additives, accessed on August 11, 2020.
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Entry on butane in the GESTIS substance database of the IFA , accessed on December 21, 2019(JavaScript required) .
  3. David R. Lide (Ed.): CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics . 90th edition. (Internet version: 2010), CRC Press / Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL, Permittivity (Dielectric Constant) of Gases, pp. 6-188.
  4. Entry on butane in the Classification and Labeling Inventory of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), accessed on February 1, 2016. Manufacturers or distributors can expand the harmonized classification and labeling .
  5. Physical data of liquid gas. WPG Westfälische Propan-GmbH, accessed on October 21, 2016 .
  6. Text of the additive approval regulation
  7. Robert Ackermann: The sudden sniffing death. In: the daily newspaper. June 19, 2008.
  8. Stadtnachrichten Markdorf (schwaebische.de): 15-year-old dies after sniffing deodorant. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  9. SpiegelOnline: Sniffing - Deadly Intoxication from the Can of August 10, 2010.
  10. Nuremberg Youth Welfare Office (ed.): No escape into addiction. (PDF file; 313 kB) Nuremberg 2009.