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What are aliphatic hydrocarbons

Aliphatic hydrocarbons are chemical compounds which consist of hydrogen and carbon linked as straight chains, non-aromatic rings, or branched trains. While hydrogen is the most common element bound to the carbon chain, aliphatic hydrocarbons can also contain pendant or bound elements including nitrogen, oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur. Most aliphatic hydrocarbons are highly flammable — they frequently serve in fuels such as methane, acetylene, and liquefied natural gas.

As a leading aliphatic hydrocarbons distributor, Brenntag North America is your best source for this versatile compound in the United States.

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Aliphatic hydrocarbons are often derived from natural sources such as insect pheromones and the fragrance and flavor of various plants. Saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons feature single bonds, whereas the unsaturated version can have double or triple bonds between the carbon atoms. Individual molecules may have several different structures, although every molecule has the same formula. These types of aliphatic hydrocarbons are referred to as isomers. Examples of straight-chained saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons include butane, propane, methane, and ethane, while saturated cyclo forms include cyclopropane, cyclo heptane, cyclo octane, and cyclobutane. The family of unsaturated aliphatic hydrocarbons consists of alkenes including ethyne, propene, butene, and octane, as well as alkynes such as butyne, pentyne, hexyne, and octyne.

Common Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Examples and Uses

In addition to fuels, aliphatic hydrocarbons serve as primary ingredients in many products we use on a daily basis. You’ll find them in building materials such as insulation, plywood, adhesives, and paint — as well as consumer products including household cleaners and personal care/hygiene items. Aliphatic hydrocarbons are also used in the preparation of food additives, pesticides, and furnishing materials such as floor covers and furniture.


Aliphatic hydrocarbons can act as solvents containing only hydrogen and carbon atoms. The Aliphatic hydrocarbons undergo a hydrogenation process that removes non-essential components and transforms undesirable fractions into beneficial hydrocarbons. The solvents can serve as either active materials that dissolve unwanted ingredients or as diluters for paints and coatings. They also work well as cleansers and feature excellent wetting and anti-corrosive capabilities, and are known for their low toxicity and lack of odor.


With an inventory of more than 10,000 chemicals and other essential manufacturing ingredients, Brenntag is sure to have the right product for your applications. We proudly serve more than 180,000 customers across a diverse range of Life Science industries including Food & Nutrition, Personal Care, and Pharmaceutical. Our extensive global network of more than 550 locations in 74 nations ensures fast and efficient distribution of your products.

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