Is Hexane Soluble in Water? (+ 3 Things You Should Know)

No, hexane (C6H14) is not soluble in water. 1 Hexane is a nonpolar molecule, while water is a polar molecule. Due to the difference in polarity, hexane and water do not form favorable interactions, and as a result, hexane does not dissolve or mix with water.

Well, this was just a simple answer. But there are few more things to know about this topic which will make your concept super clear.

So let’s dive right into it.

Key Takeaways: Is Hexane Soluble in Water?

  • Hexane is insoluble in water due to the significant difference in polarity between the two substances.
  • Hexane is a nonpolar molecule, while water is a polar molecule with strong intermolecular attractions.
  • Hexane can dissolve in other nonpolar solvents, such as benzene and toluene, due to similar nonpolar characteristics and weak intermolecular forces.

Why is hexane insoluble in water?

Hexane is insoluble in water due to the significant difference in the polarity of the two substances. Water is a polar molecule, meaning it has a partial positive charge on one end and a partial negative charge on the other. 2 In contrast, hexane is a nonpolar molecule with a symmetrical arrangement of carbon and hydrogen atoms, lacking any significant charge separation. 3

The solubility of a substance in water depends on the intermolecular forces between the solute and solvent molecules. 4

Water molecules form hydrogen bonds with each other due to their polarity, creating a network of strong intermolecular attractions. Hexane molecules, on the other hand, have only weak London dispersion forces between them. 5

When hexane is introduced to water, the polar water molecules are unable to form favorable interactions with the nonpolar hexane molecules. The attractive forces between water molecules are stronger than the attractive forces between water and hexane molecules.

As a result, hexane molecules tend to remain clustered together, forming a separate layer or droplets in water, leading to its insolubility in water.

Can hexane dissolve in other solvents?

Yes, hexane can dissolve in other nonpolar solvents such as benzene, toluene, diethyl ether, and chloroform. 6 7 These solvents share similar nonpolar characteristics with hexane, allowing for favorable intermolecular interactions. The London dispersion forces between the nonpolar molecules of hexane and these solvents enable them to mix and form a homogeneous solution.

In general, “like dissolves like” is a common principle in solubility. 8 Nonpolar solutes tend to dissolve in nonpolar solvents, while polar solutes dissolve in polar solvents.

This principle is based on the concept of intermolecular forces. Since hexane is a nonpolar molecule, it exhibits weak London dispersion forces. Nonpolar solvents have similar weak intermolecular forces, making them compatible for dissolving hexane.

It’s important to note that the solubility of a substance can also depend on temperature and pressure. 9

Therefore, while hexane may be soluble in certain nonpolar solvents at standard conditions, it’s always necessary to consider the specific solvent and conditions when determining solubility.

Further reading

Why is Ethanol Soluble in Water?
Is Phenol Soluble in Water?
Is Benzoic Acid Soluble in Water?
Why is Acetic Acid Soluble in Water?
Why is Na2SO4 (Sodium Sulfate) Soluble in Water?

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  2. Properties of Water. (n.d.). Properties of Water.
  3. P. (n.d.). n-HEXANE. n-HEXANE | C6H14 | CID 8058 – PubChem.
  8. Zhuang, B., Ramanauskaite, G., Koa, Z. Y., & Wang, Z. G. (2021, February 12). Like dissolves like: A first-principles theory for predicting liquid miscibility and mixture dielectric constant. Science Advances, 7(7).
  9. Solubility. (n.d.). Solubility.

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