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Methane Formula – Structure, Properties, Uses, Sample Questions

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  • Last Updated : 22 Mar, 2022
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Methane compound consists of 4 Hydrogen atoms and a Carbon atom. Carbon is a non-metallic chemical element with atomic number 6 and is represented by the symbol C. It belongs to group-14 in the periodic table. It is a nonmetallic and tetravalent-making four electrons available to form chemical bonds. Hydrogen is a colorless, odourless, non-toxic, and flammable gas. It is the lightest element with atomic number 1. Hydrogen is a diatomic with the formula H2


Methane is the simplest saturated hydrocarbon with the chemical formula CH4. It is the simplest Alkane that had one carbon and four hydrogen atoms. Methane was first scientifically identified by Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist in the year 1776. It was odorless, colorless, and flammable non-toxic gas. Methane is a tetrahedral molecule as it has four equivalent C-H bonds. It is produced by colonic anaerobes.

Methane Structure

Properties of Methane

  • Methane gas is lighter than air. (Gravity of 0.554)
  • When methane is burnt, the flame of it slightly pale, luminous and very hot.
  • Methane is one of the most important greenhouse gas such that almost 70% of methane emissions are linked to human activities.
  • Methane is the conjugate acid of methanide.

Chemical Formula


Molecular Weight

16.04 g/mol

Melting Point

-182.5o C

Boiling Point

-161.5o C


0.656 Kg/m3


Soluble in water

Uses of Methane

  • Methane is an energy powerhouse. So it is used in ovens, water heaters, and automobiles as a fuel.
  • It is used in generating electricity.
  • Methane in refined liquid form is used as fuel for rockets.
  • Used as Anti Freezing agent in industries.
  • Methane is most common ingredient in fertilizers.
  • It is used to sanitize the products to get free from any bacteria.
  • Used in gas appliances testing.
  • Used in gas cookers.
  • Incomplete combustion of methane yields carbon black which is used as reinforcing agent in rubber in making car tires.

Sample Questions

Question 1: Is methane gas bad for environment?


Yes, It is bad for environment. If it spills out from the leaky pipe before it being used then it absorbs the heat from the sun that leads to warming up the temperature of atmosphere causes greenhouse effect. 

Question 2: What is the main cause for the release of methane gas?


Methane gas is released during oil, coal and natural gas production. Degradation of agricultural waste in urban solid waste landfills also emits methane.

Question 3: Is methane harmful to humans?


Methane gas alone is not toxic. But when it reacts with other gases it become deadly. Methane displaces oxygen to induce asphyxiation which cause dizziness and headache but these frequently go unnoticed until the brain signals the body gasping for air.

Question 4: Is it possible to extract methane from the atmosphere?


Yes bacteria is used to extract methane from air. As it is a greenhouse gas, elimination of methane is financially competitive with carbon capture even if the technologies themselves are more expensive.

Question 5: What is the tetrahedral bond angle of methane?


The tetrahedral bond angle of methane is 109.5°. As per the valence shell electron pair repulsion theory, It is the molecular structure with minimum mutual repulsions.

Question 6: How does methane compare to carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas?


Methane is far less abundant than carbon dioxide but it is ore potent molecule for a molecule as a green house gas when you balance out there differences in concentrations and amount of light absorbed methane is roughly a third as powerful as CO2 in warming the atmosphere.

Question 7: What chemical compound is used to remove methane in the atmosphere?


As methane is a greenhouse gas, it is necessary to remove it from atmosphere. Zeolite, an abundant clay is used to control the methane emissions and to remove from air. Zeolite absorbs the methane from air when passes through it. It is mostly used as absorbents and catalysts as it is inexpensive.

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