Figure 1. Ball and stick model of nonane, the white balls represent hydrogen atoms and the black balls represent carbon atoms.[1]

Nonane is an alkane with the chemical formula C9H20. As a hydrocarbon, it can undergo hydrocarbon combustion and can be burned as a fuel. Nonane is a volatile, colourless liquid that has a gasoline-like odour. Nonane, like other alkanes, is insoluble in water.[2]

Normally, nonane is obtained from refining petroleum. However, it can also be produced by adding hydrogen (H2), to nonene (a closely related organic molecule with the formula: C9H18), an alkene. This reaction is known as hydrogenation. Nonane is also a component in automotive and jet fuel. The second major use for nonane is as an ingredient in organic solvents. Since nonane is insoluble in water, it makes it a good solvent for other hydrophobic molecules.[3]


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

Chemical formula C9H20
Molar mass 128.26 grams/mole
Melting point -51oC[4]
Boiling point 151oC[4]

Combustion Reaction

Nonane undergoes hydrocarbon combustion, combining with oxygen to form carbon dioxide. The balanced chemical equation for the complete combustion of nonane is:

C9H20 + 14O2 → 9CO2 + 10H2O + Heat Energy (Enthalpy)

The hydrocarbon combustion reaction releases heat energy and is an example of an exothermic reaction. The reaction also has a negative enthalpy change (ΔH) value.



  1. "Nonane-3D-balls". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2015). Properties of Nonane [Online]. [February 16,2015].
  3. Andrea Kropp. (2015). Nonane: Structure & Uses [Online]. Available: [February 16, 2015].
  4. 4.0 4.1 Charles E. Ophardt. (2003). Virtual Chembook - Hydrocarbon Boiling Points [Online]. Available: [February 16,2015].

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