Figure 1. Space filling model of ethane, the white is hydrogen and the black is carbon.[1]

Ethane is a hydrocarbon that can be burned as a fuel. It's chemical formula is C2H6, and it is a colourless compressed liquified gas that is odourless when it is pure. Generally ethane is not completely pure, as it is usually mixed with other hydrocarbons. It is often one of the components of natural gas.[2] Ethane undergoes hydrocarbon combustion, combining with oxygen to form carbon dioxide. The balanced chemical equation for the complete combustion of ethane is:[3]

This reaction is a source of primary energy.


Below is a table of some of the basic properties of ethane.

Chemical formula C2H6
Molar mass 30.1 grams/mole
Energy density 53.2 MJ/kg [4]
Melting Point -183oC[5]
Boiling Point -89oC[5]


  1. "Ethane-3D-vdW". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
  2. Center for Energy Economics. (2015). Composition of Natural Gas and LNG [Online]. Available:
  3. Dr. Colin France. (2014). Products from Oil - The Combustion of Hydrocarbons [Online]. Available: [February 16, 2015].
  4. Glenn Elert. (2015). The Physics Hypertextbook - Chemical Potential Energy [Online]. Available: [February 16, 2015].
  5. 5.0 5.1 Charles E. Ophardt. (2003). Virtual Chembook - Hydrocarbon Boiling Points [Online]. Available: [February 16,2015].

Authors and Editors

Jordan Hanania, Kailyn Stenhouse, Jason Donev
Last updated: August 26, 2015
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