Methane (CH₄)

Methane (CH₄)

The first member in the homologous series of alkanes.

Chemistry

Keywords

methane, saturated hydrocarbon, alkane, paraffin, homologous series, petroleum, natural gas, firedamp, tetrahedron, nonpolar, thermal decomposition, substitution reaction, organic chemistry, chemistry

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Scenes

Methane CH₄

Information

Molar mass: 16.043 g/mol

Melting point: -182.47 °C (-296.45 °F)

Boiling point: -161.45 °C (-258.61 °F)

Density: 0.0007 g/cm³ (0.000025 lb/in³)

Relative steam density (air=1): 0.6

Heat of combustion: 890.9 kJ/mol

Molecular shape: tetrahedron

Bond angle: 109.5°

Properties

Methane is a colorless, odorless, lighter-than-air gas, which dissolves well in organic solvents but not in water. It burns in air to form water and carbon-dioxide. The carbon-hydrogen bond is weakly polar, yet the molecule, due to its symmetry, is non-polar. When it is chlorinated, it produces chloromethane, dichloromethane, trichloromethane and carbon tetrachloride. This is a substitution reaction.

A mixture of methane and air is explosive. (This is called firedamp.) Isolated from air, methane starts to break down at a temperature of about 500 °C (932 °F). Its reaction with water produces synthesis gas, which is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

Occurrence and production

Methane occurs in natural gas, in swamp gas, in biogas, and, in dissolved form, in crude oil. It is a product of the bacterial decomposition of cellulose.

It can be produced in laboratories by heating a finely powdered mixture of sodium acetate and sodium hydroxide.

Uses

Methane is an important base material in industry. Various compounds, such as halogenated carbohydrates, acetylene and hydrogen cyanide can be produced from it. It is most widely used as a fuel and a propellant.

Methane CH₄

Information

Molar mass: 16.043 g/mol

Melting point: -182.47 °C (-296.45 °F)

Boiling point: -161.45 °C (-258.61 °F)

Density: 0.0007 g/cm³ (0.000025 lb/in³)

Relative steam density (air=1): 0.6

Heat of combustion: 890.9 kJ/mol

Molecular shape: tetrahedron

Bond angle: 109.5°

Properties

Methane is a colorless, odorless, lighter-than-air gas, which dissolves well in organic solvents but not in water. It burns in air to form water and carbon-dioxide. The carbon-hydrogen bond is weakly polar, yet the molecule, due to its symmetry, is non-polar. When it is chlorinated, it produces chloromethane, dichloromethane, trichloromethane and carbon tetrachloride. This is a substitution reaction.

A mixture of methane and air is explosive. (This is called firedamp.) Isolated from air, methane starts to break down at a temperature of about 500 °C (932 °F). Its reaction with water produces synthesis gas, which is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

Occurrence and production

Methane occurs in natural gas, in swamp gas, in biogas, and, in dissolved form, in crude oil. It is a product of the bacterial decomposition of cellulose.

It can be produced in laboratories by heating a finely powdered mixture of sodium acetate and sodium hydroxide.

Uses

Methane is an important base material in industry. Various compounds, such as halogenated carbohydrates, acetylene and hydrogen cyanide can be produced from it. It is most widely used as a fuel and a propellant.

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Colorless, toxic liquid with a sweet odor.

Acetaldehyde (ethanal) (CH₃CHO)

An aldehyde which is an important raw material and intermediate product in industry.

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