Cyclohexane vs. Hexane

What's the Difference?

Cyclohexane and hexane are both hydrocarbons that belong to the alkane family. They have similar molecular formulas, with cyclohexane having a six-membered ring structure and hexane consisting of a straight chain of six carbon atoms. However, their structural differences result in distinct physical properties. Cyclohexane has a higher boiling point and melting point compared to hexane due to the presence of intermolecular forces resulting from its ring structure. On the other hand, hexane has a lower density and is more volatile than cyclohexane. These differences in physical properties make them suitable for different applications, with cyclohexane commonly used as a solvent and hexane as a fuel or extraction solvent.


Molecular FormulaC6H12C6H14
Chemical StructureRing structure with 6 carbon atomsStraight chain with 6 carbon atoms
IsomerismCan exist as cis or trans isomersNo isomers
Boiling Point (°C)80.769
Melting Point (°C)6.5-95
Density (g/mL)0.7790.654
Solubility in WaterInsolubleInsoluble
OdorCharacteristic sweet odorCharacteristic gasoline-like odor

Further Detail


Cyclohexane and hexane are both organic compounds belonging to the class of hydrocarbons. They are commonly used as solvents in various industries and have similar chemical structures. However, there are distinct differences in their physical and chemical properties that make them suitable for different applications. In this article, we will explore and compare the attributes of cyclohexane and hexane, shedding light on their similarities and differences.

Physical Properties

When it comes to physical properties, both cyclohexane and hexane are colorless liquids at room temperature. They have low boiling points, making them volatile substances that readily evaporate. Cyclohexane has a boiling point of approximately 81°C, while hexane boils at around 69°C. This difference in boiling points can be attributed to the structural dissimilarities between the two compounds.

Another important physical property to consider is the density. Cyclohexane has a density of about 0.78 g/mL, whereas hexane has a slightly lower density of around 0.66 g/mL. This disparity in density can affect their behavior when mixed with other substances, such as water or other solvents.

Furthermore, both cyclohexane and hexane are insoluble in water due to their nonpolar nature. However, they are highly soluble in nonpolar solvents, such as benzene or toluene. This solubility property makes them valuable in various industrial processes, including extraction and purification.

Chemical Properties

While cyclohexane and hexane share similar chemical structures, their reactivity and chemical properties differ. Cyclohexane is a cycloalkane with a six-membered carbon ring, whereas hexane is an aliphatic hydrocarbon with a straight-chain structure.

One of the key differences in their chemical properties lies in their susceptibility to undergo reactions. Cyclohexane is relatively stable and less reactive compared to hexane. This stability is due to the presence of the carbon ring, which provides structural rigidity and reduces the likelihood of chemical reactions.

On the other hand, hexane's straight-chain structure makes it more prone to undergo reactions, such as combustion or substitution reactions. This reactivity can be advantageous in certain applications, such as fuel production or organic synthesis.

Additionally, cyclohexane is more resistant to oxidation compared to hexane. This resistance to oxidation makes cyclohexane a preferred choice in applications where exposure to air or oxygen is a concern, such as in the production of certain polymers or coatings.


Both cyclohexane and hexane find extensive use in various industries due to their unique attributes. Cyclohexane is commonly employed as a solvent in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Its low toxicity and high solvency power make it suitable for dissolving and extracting a wide range of organic compounds.

Hexane, on the other hand, is widely used as a solvent in the extraction of vegetable oils, such as soybean oil or canola oil. Its ability to dissolve nonpolar substances efficiently makes it an ideal choice for oil extraction processes. Hexane is also utilized as a cleaning agent in the electronics industry, where it effectively removes contaminants without leaving residue.

Furthermore, both cyclohexane and hexane serve as important components in the production of fuels. Hexane, with its higher reactivity, is used as a blending component in gasoline, while cyclohexane is utilized in the production of cycloalkanes, which can be further processed into aviation fuels.

It is worth mentioning that both cyclohexane and hexane should be handled with caution due to their flammability. Proper safety measures, such as adequate ventilation and fire prevention protocols, should be followed when working with these compounds.


In conclusion, cyclohexane and hexane are two important hydrocarbon compounds with distinct attributes. While they share similarities in terms of being colorless liquids with low boiling points, their densities, reactivity, and applications differ significantly. Cyclohexane's stability, resistance to oxidation, and high solvency power make it suitable for various chemical and pharmaceutical applications. On the other hand, hexane's reactivity and efficient oil-dissolving properties make it valuable in the extraction of vegetable oils and as a cleaning agent. Understanding the unique attributes of these compounds allows industries to utilize them effectively in their respective applications.

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