Definition of pentane in US English:



  • A volatile liquid hydrocarbon of the alkane series, present in petroleum-based solvents.

    Chemical formula: C₅H₁₂; three isomers, especially the straight-chain isomer (n-pentane)

    • ‘Like pentane, paraffins are alkanes - hydrocarbon molecules that have as many hydrogen atoms as the molecule's carbon backbone can accommodate.’
    • ‘Extra chemical agents are usually added to the solution: detergents such as octyl thioglucoside, octyl glucoside, octyl glucopyranoside, organic solvents such as pentane, hexane, or other chemicals such as glucose or glycerol.’
    • ‘The pentane molecule, however, has neither hydrogen bonding nor polar groups to be attracted to water molecules.’
    • ‘Acetone-free polish removers contain safer fruit-derived solvents like ethyl acetate and methyl pentane.’
    • ‘After thawing, the volatile components were extracted three times with 50 ml pentane.’


Late 19th century: from Greek pente ‘five’ (denoting five carbon atoms) + a shortened form of alkane.