H      H   H      rotation \    H         H
      |       \ /       ==========    |         |
      C--------C        \             C---------C
     / \       |                     / \       / \
    H   H      H                    H   H     H   H
It is hard to show the real angles that exist in the ethane molecule as the hydrogen atoms on each carbon are pointing out somewhat at each end. In any case, one of the most interesting things about the ethane molecule is that the carbon-carbon bond will rotate so the hydrogen atoms can line up or not. This is in contrast with ethene C2H4 and ethyne (acetylene) C2H2 since the double and triple covalent bonds do not rotate.

Basic Data:

Ethane is the base for ethanol or common alcohol, vinegar (acetic acid) and a number of refrigerants when combined with halogens.


Chemistry: Experiment and Theory by Bernice Segal

Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 74th Edition, David Lide, editor-in-chief.