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Methane Formula

Last updated date: 23rd Apr 2024
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The Chemical Formula of Methane

Methane is a gas contained in the Earth's atmosphere in small amounts. The simplest hydrocarbon, containing one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms, is methane. Methane is a strong greenhouse gas. Methane is inflammable and used as a fuel in the world.

Methane is a chemical substance having the chemical formula CH4 (one atom of carbon and four atoms of hydrogen). It is a hydride of group-14 and the simplest alkane and is the primary natural gas constituent. The relative abundance of methane on Earth makes it an economically attractive fuel, however, under normal temperature and pressure conditions, extracting and storing it poses technical difficulties due to its gaseous nature. Methane is a colorless, odorless gas that is abundantly present in nature and as a result of human activities. Methane is the simplest member of the hydrocarbon series.

The Structural Formula of Methane:

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The above figure represents the structural formula of Methane as well as showing bond angles and distances. Plain bonds are represented in the plane of the figure whereas wedge and dashed bonds represent those directed towards and away from individuals. Organic compounds made of atoms of carbon and hydrogen are the simplest. Many kinds of hydrocarbons are distinctive. The forms of bonding between carbon atoms and the properties that result from that bonding distinguish them. Alkanes are hydrocarbons with only single carbon-to-carbon bonds (C-C) and present as a continuous chain of carbon atoms often bound to hydrogen atoms (or saturated hydrocarbons). Saturated, in this case, means that, as far as possible, each carbon atom is bound to four other atoms (hydrogen or carbon); the molecules do not have double or triple bonds.

The Molecular Formula of Methane:

A tetrahedral molecule with four identical C-H bonds is methane. Four bonding molecular orbitals (MOs) arising from the overlap of the valence orbitals on C and H describe its electronic structure. The lowest-energy MO results from the overlap of the carbon 2s orbital with the combination of the 1s orbitals on the four hydrogen atoms in the in-phase. On Earth, the abundance of methane makes it a beautiful fuel. While capturing and storing it presents, under normal temperature and pressure conditions challenges to its gaseous state. Other methane names include marsh gas, fossil fuel, carbon tetrahydride, and hydrogen carbide. 16.043 g·mol−1 is the molar mass of methane.


A significant source of hydrogen and some organic chemicals is methane. At high temperatures, methane reacts with steam to create carbon monoxide and hydrogen, the latter being used in the manufacture of ammonia for fertilizers and explosives. Methanol, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and nitromethane are other precious chemicals extracted from methane. Methane incomplete combustion yields carbon black, which is commonly used as a rubber reinforcement agent used for vehicle tires.

FAQs on Methane Formula

1. Does Methane Gas Affect Humans?

The amount of oxygen breathed out of the air can be reduced by high levels of methane. This can result in changes in mood, slurred expression, vision difficulties, loss of memory, nausea, vomiting, headache, and facial flushing. In extreme cases, breathing and heart rate changes, balance problems, numbness, and unconsciousness can occur.

2. Does Methane Gas Explode?

Methane is non-toxic, but it is highly flammable and can cause air to form explosive mixtures. The Upper Big Branch coal mine accident in West Virginia on April 5, 2010, killing 29, was caused by a methane gas explosion.

3. How Do We Calculate the Molecular Formula?

Divide the compound's molar mass by the mass of the empirical formula. A whole number or similar to a whole number should be the outcome. Multiply all the subscriptions by the entire amount contained in the empirical formula. By following steps, the result obtained is a molecular formula.