Butane vs. Isobutane — What's the Difference?
Butane and isobutane are both hydrocarbons with the same molecular formula, C4H10, but they differ in structural arrangement. Butane has a straight-chain structure, whereas isobutane has a branched structure.
Difference Between Butane and Isobutane
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Butane is a straight-chain alkane hydrocarbon with the formula C4H10, commonly used as fuel in lighters and portable stoves. Isobutane, on the other hand, is a branched isomer of butane, often utilized as a refrigerant and a propellant in aerosol sprays.
Butane, with its straight-chain structure, has different physical and chemical properties compared to isobutane. Isobutane, having a more compact, branched structure, has a lower boiling point than butane.
In terms of applications, butane is more commonly found in portable gas stoves and cigarette lighters. Isobutane is frequently used in refrigeration systems and as a propellant in aerosol cans.
Both butane and isobutane are flammable gases at room temperature and are often used in similar applications. However, isobutane is considered to have better cold-weather performance, thanks to its lower boiling point.
Chemically speaking, butane and isobutane are isomers, meaning they have the same chemical formula but different structural arrangements. These structural differences result in varying physical and chemical properties between the two.
Isomer of Butane
Compare with Definitions
A straight-chain hydrocarbon.
Butane is often used in camping stoves.
Commonly used as a refrigerant.
Isobutane is eco-friendlier than some other refrigerants.
An alkane with four carbon atoms.
Butane has a higher boiling point than propane.
Lower boiling point than butane.
Isobutane performs better in cold weather due to its lower boiling point.
Volatile and flammable.
Butane gas is used in various industrial applications.
Used as a propellant in aerosols.
Isobutane is commonly found in aerosol sprays.
A fuel for lighters.
Most disposable lighters contain butane.
A branched hydrocarbon.
Isobutane is used in refrigeration systems.
Gaseous at room temperature.
Butane should be stored carefully due to its flammability.
An isomer of butane.
Isobutane has the same molecular formula as butane but a different structure.
Butane () or n-butane is an alkane with the formula C4H10. Butane is a gas at room temperature and atmospheric pressure.
Isobutane, also known as i-butane, 2-methylpropane or methylpropane, is a chemical compound with molecular formula HC(CH3)3. It is an isomer of butane.
Either of two isomers of a gaseous hydrocarbon, C4H10, produced synthetically from petroleum and used as a household fuel, refrigerant, and aerosol propellant and in the manufacture of synthetic rubber.
(organic compound) A hydrocarbon, a particular isomer of C4H10 found in natural gas.
(organic compound) A hydrocarbon (either of the two isomers of C4H10 n-butane, and 2-methyl-propane) found in gaseous petroleum fractions.
The n-butane isomer only.
An inflammable gaseous saturated hydrocarbon, C4H10, of the marsh gas, or paraffin, series.
Occurs in natural gas; used in the manufacture of rubber and fuels
What is butane?
Butane is a straight-chain alkane hydrocarbon with the formula C4H10.
Where is butane commonly used?
In lighters and portable stoves.
What's the boiling point of butane?
Higher than isobutane's.
Where is isobutane commonly used?
In refrigeration systems and aerosol sprays.
What's the boiling point of isobutane?
Lower than butane's.
What is isobutane?
Isobutane is a branched isomer of butane.
Can butane be used as a refrigerant?
It's less commonly used for that purpose compared to isobutane.
Can isobutane be used in lighters?
Less commonly, as it's better suited for refrigeration and aerosols.
How are butane and isobutane different?
They differ in structural arrangement: butane is straight-chain, while isobutane is branched.
Are they both alkanes?
Yes, both are alkanes but isobutane is an isomer of butane.
Are both flammable?
Yes, both are flammable gases at room temperature.
Are they interchangeable in applications?
Not always, due to their differing properties.
Is butane eco-friendly?
It's less eco-friendly than isobutane as a refrigerant.
Is isobutane eco-friendly?
More so than some other refrigerants.
Are they both gases at room temperature?
Yes, both are gaseous at room temperature.
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