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Hexane is a colorless, volatile liquid with a faint odor. It is soluble in alcohol, ether, chloroform, and acetone, and insoluble in water.
In industry, hexanes are used in the formulation of glues for shoes, leather products, and roofing. They are also used to extract cooking oils (such as canola oil or soy oil) from seeds, for cleansing and degreasing a variety of items, and in textile manufacturing.
Health Hazards Associated with Hexane:Short-term exposure to air contaminated with hexane affects the nervous system and can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, and even unconsciousness. Chronic exposure can cause more severe damage to the nervous system.
Hexanes are chiefly obtained by refining crude oil. The exact composition of the fraction depends largely on the source of the oil (crude or reformed) and the constraints of the refining. The industrial product (usually around 50% by weight of the straight-chain isomer) is the fraction boiling at 65–70 °C (149–158 °F).