The Chemical Makeup of Propane

When you are looking for a fuel that is safe and environmentally-friendly, look no further than propane. With so many wonderful uses for your home and business, propane is a safe, clean-burning fuel known as a liquefied petroleum gas. It is easy to transport and very economical for your budget. We are proud at Annapolis Propane & Fuels to deliver this outstanding fuel to your home and business. But before propane gets into your tank, its story begins over millions of years ago. 

The chemical makeup for propane is C3H8 because it is formed from three carbon molecules bonding with eight hydrogen atoms. The carbon structure of propane gives the gas an organic classification. Additionally, propane is designated as non-polar because it won’t mix with polar substances like water. 

Propane is a hydrocarbon with its molecules joined by a single covalent bond. This type of bond puts propane in the Alkane class, along with methane, ethane, and butane. Known as natural gas, methane is the simplest alkane with one carbon atom bonding with four hydrogen atoms. Ethane has a two-carbon bond with six hydrogen atoms. Propane comes from a three-carbon chain with eight hydrogen atoms. Butane is used for hand-held torches and is formed from four carbon atoms bonding with 10 hydrogen atoms. 

The direct makeup of propane is a straight-chain alkane. The outer carbon atoms each bond with three hydrogen atoms while the middle carbon atom joins with just two hydrogen atoms. 

With a boiling point at -44 degrees Fahrenheit, propane, when it is in a liquid state, only can be stored in a pressurized tank. This excellent, efficient fuel can power furnaces, hot water heaters, outdoor gas grills, gas-powered camping cooking stoves, forklifts, farm irrigation machines, fleet vehicles, and even buses.

The Science Behind the 80/20 Rule

The technicians from your local propane supplier follow specific safety guidelines when filling your propane tank. You may have noticed on your propane tank gauge that your tank is not completely full.  

We want you to know there is an excellent reason for this because it is a safety guideline based on the science behind propane.

Your propane tank is only filled to 80% of its capacity, leaving 20% of the tank empty. This safety guideline is called the 80/20 Rule. This rule acts as an essential safeguard against changing temperatures inside your propane tank, which increases the propane volume. 

Propane expands when it gets hotter — the way water expands. But propane will expand its volume nearly 17 times greater than water. The extra 20% of space acts as a buffer by allowing the liquid propane room to expand when your tank heats up. 

At Annapolis Propane & Fuels, safety always comes first, and now you know why this procedure is enacted by science. Whether you are enjoying some fun in the summer sun or a comfortable evening around your propane fireplace, propane is a safe and efficient option, all year long.

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