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Stereo, skeletal formula of neopentane
Skeletal formula of neopentane with all implicit carbons shown, and all explicit hydrogens added
Ball and stick model of neopentane
Spacefill model of neopentane
Preferred IUPAC name
Other names
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.006.677
EC Number
  • 207-343-7
MeSH neopentane
Molar mass 72.151 g·mol−1
Appearance Colorless gas
Odor Odorless
Density 3.255 kg/m3 (gas, 9.5 °C)
601.172 kg/m3 (liquid, 9.5 °C)
Melting point −16.5 °C (2.3 °F; 256.6 K)
Boiling point 9.5 °C (49.1 °F; 282.6 K)
Vapor pressure 146 kPa (at 20 °C)[3]
4.7 nmol Pa−1 kg−1
121.07–120.57 J K−1 mol−1
217 J K−1 mol−1
−168.5–−167.3 kJ mol−1
−3.51506–−3.51314 MJ mol−1
Extremely Flammable F+ Dangerous for the Environment (Nature) N
R-phrases (outdated) R12, R51/53
S-phrases (outdated) (S2), S16, S33
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
Flammability code 4: Will rapidly or completely vaporize at normal atmospheric pressure and temperature, or is readily dispersed in air and will burn readily. Flash point below 23 °C (73 °F). E.g. propaneHealth code 1: Exposure would cause irritation but only minor residual injury. E.g. turpentineReactivity code 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water. E.g. liquid nitrogenSpecial hazards (white): no codeNFPA 704 four-colored diamond
Related compounds
Related alkanes
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Neopentane, also called 2,2-dimethylpropane, is a double-branched-chain alkane with five carbon atoms. Neopentane is a flammable gas at room temperature and pressure which can condense into a highly volatile liquid on a cold day, in an ice bath, or when compressed to a higher pressure.

Neopentane is the simplest alkane with a quaternary carbon, and has achiral tetrahedral symmetry. It is one of the three structural isomers with the molecular formula C5H12 (pentanes), the other two being n-pentane and isopentane. Out of these three, it is the only one to be a gas at standard conditions; the others are liquids.


The traditional name neopentane was still retained in the 1993 IUPAC recommendations,[4][5] but is no longer recommended according to the 2013 recommendations.[2] The preferred IUPAC name is the systematic name 2,2-dimethylpropane, but the substituent numbers are superfluous because it is the only possible “dimethylpropane.”

A neopentyl group attached to a generic group R.

A neopentyl substituent, often symbolized by "Np", has the structure Me3C-CH2- for instance neopentyl alcohol (Me3CCH2OH or NpOH). As Np also symbolises the element neptunium (atomic number 93) one should use this abbreviation with care.

The obsolete name tetramethylmethane is also used, especially in older sources.[6][7]

Physical properties[edit]

Boiling and melting points[edit]

The boiling point of neopentane is only 9.5 °C, significantly lower than those of isopentane (27.7 °C) and normal pentane (36.0 °C). Therefore, neopentane is a gas at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, while the other two isomers are (barely) liquids.

The melting point of neopentane (−16.6 °C), on the other hand, is 140 degrees higher than that of isopentane (−159.9 °C) and 110 degrees higher than that of n-pentane (−129.8 °C). This anomaly has been attributed to the better solid-state packing assumed to be possible with the tetrahedral neopentane molecule; but this explanation has been challenged on account of it having a lower density than the other two isomers. Moreover, its enthalpy of fusion is lower than the enthalpies of fusion of both n-pentane and isopentane, thus indicating that its high melting point is due to an entropy effect resulting from higher molecular symmetry. Indeed, the entropy of fusion of neopentane is about 4 times lower than that of n-pentane and isopentane.[8]

¹H NMR spectrum[edit]

Because of neopentane's full tetrahedral symmetry, all protons are chemically equivalent, leading to a single NMR chemical shift δ = 0.902 when dissolved in carbon tetrachloride.[9] In this respect, neopentane is similar to its silane analog, tetramethylsilane, whose single chemical shift is zero by convention.

The symmetry of the neopentane molecule can be broken if some hydrogen atoms are replaced by deuterium atoms. In particular, if each methyl group has a different number of substituted atoms (0, 1, 2, and 3), one obtains a chiral molecule. The chirality in this case arises solely by the mass distribution of its nuclei, while the electron distribution is still essentially achiral.[10]


  1. ^ Aston, J.G.; Messerly, G.H., Heat Capacities and Entropies of Organic Compounds II. Thermal and Vapor Pressure Data for Tetramethylmethane from 13.22K to the Boiling Point. The Entropy from its Raman Spectrum, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 1936, 58, 2354.
  2. ^ a b "Front Matter". Nomenclature of Organic Chemistry : IUPAC Recommendations and Preferred Names 2013 (Blue Book). Cambridge: The Royal Society of Chemistry. 2014. p. 652. doi:10.1039/9781849733069-FP001. ISBN 978-0-85404-182-4.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Table 19(a) Acyclic and monocyclic hydrocarbons. Parent hydrocarbons
  5. ^ Panico, R.; & Powell, W. H. (Eds.) (1994). A Guide to IUPAC Nomenclature of Organic Compounds 1993. Oxford: Blackwell Science. ISBN 978-0-632-03488-8.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Whitmore, Frank C.; Fleming, Geo. H. (1934-09-01). "Preparation of Tetramethylmethane (Neopentane) and Determination of its Physical Constants1". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 55 (9): 3803–3806. doi:10.1021/ja01336a058. ISSN 0002-7863.
  7. ^ LaCoste, Lucien J. B. (1934-10-15). "The Rotational Wave Equation of Tetramethylmethane for Zero Potential and a Generalization". Physical Review. 46 (8): 718–724. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.46.718.
  8. ^ James Wei (1999), Molecular Symmetry, Rotational Entropy, and Elevated Melting Points. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., volume 38 issue 12, pp. 5019–5027 doi:10.1021/ie990588m
  9. ^ Spectral Database for Organic Compounds, Proton NMR spectrum of neopentane, accessed 4 Jun 2018.
  10. ^ Nature. 2007 Mar 29. Absolute configuration of chirally deuterated neopentane. Haesler Jacques, Schindelholz Ivan, Riguet Emmanuel, Bochet Christian G, Hug Werner.

External links[edit]