What is the structural formula of ethane


Ethane is one of the simplest representatives of the aliphatic hydrocarbons. It has 2 carbon atoms. Its formula is C2H6 .



Coordination: The ethane molecule is tetrahedrally coordinated at both carbon atoms, that is, each of the carbon atoms is in the middle of a tetrahedron, the 4 hydrogen atoms at its corners.

Conformation: In addition, there is free rotation around the bond between the two carbon atoms. One half of the molecule can rotate (relative to the other half) around this bond. 2 conformations are noteworthy:

In the eclipsed conformation, the hydrogen atoms stand one behind the other (if you look in the direction of the C – C bond).

In the staggered conformation, they are on a gap.

The hidden conformation is 12.3 kJ / mol more energetic than the staggered one.

View: Start the Jsmol visualization by clicking the link under the ethane molecule. Look at it along the C – C bond or from the front. Switch between hidden and staggered conformations by clicking the buttons.


Ethane occurs to a small extent in natural gas, but is otherwise of only minor economic and technical importance.

Physical Properties

  • Melting point: -172 ° C
  • Boiling point: -88.5 ° C
  • Density under standard conditions (0 ° C and 1.01325 bar): 1.355 g / l
  • CAS no. : 74-84-0
  • An explanation of why the boiling point of ethane is so low and a comparison with the boiling points of other substances



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