Fossil Fuels Hydrocarbons Combustion  Elmhurst College
Natural Gas Gasoline Compounds  Combustion Energy  Chemistry Department
Gasoline Distill Oil Refinery Convert Oil Refinery  Virtual ChemBook


  Hydrocarbons in Fossil Fuels

Name Molecular
State at
methane CH4 -164 gas

Natural Gas is composed mainly of methane, but also may contain small quantities of ethane, propane, and butane. After refining, it is almost pure methane as it is moved by pipeline to commercial users and homes. In most areas of the country, natural gas is the fuel of choice for combustion and conversion into energy for residential use. It is burned in the furnace, hot water tank, clothes dryer, and stove.
ethane C2H6 -89
propane C3H8 -42

Propane in small tanks is the gas used for mobile applications such as campers and Bar-B-Q.
LPG or Liquefied Petroleum Gas, contains propane and butane and finds uses in larger tanks in rural areas for residential use.
butane C4H10 -0.5

Butane is the fuel in cigarette lighters. A flint or piezo electric spark ignites the butane gas vapor.
pentane C5H12 36 liquid
hexane C6H14 69
heptane C7H16 98

are a general name given to the the C5 - C7 hydrocarbons. These may be found in a variety of solvents for paint, paint thinners, and Bar-B-Q lighter fluids. These are easily vaporized and highly combustible.
octane C8H18 125
nonane C9H20 151
decane C10H22 174
Gasoline is a mixture of many straight chain, branched, and aromatic hydrocarbon molecules in the range of C7 through C11 or 12.
undecane C11H24 196
dodecane C12H26 216
Kerosene, jet fuel, and diesel fuel contain hydrocarbons in the range of C12 to C20. Fuel Oil has a range of hydrocarbons of C20 to C40.
eicosane C20H42 343 solid
triacontane C30H62 450 solid
Tar and asphalt bitumen, which are solids, contain hydrocarbons in the range of C40 to C70.