What is the Difference Between Cyclohexane and Cyclohexene

Cyclohexane and cyclohexene are two organic compounds with different structures and properties.  Both compounds are essential in organic chemistry and have unique roles in various chemical processes.

What is the difference between cyclohexane and cyclohexene? Cyclohexane contains only single bonds, while cyclohexene contains a double bond.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Cyclohexane  
      – Definition, Features 
2. What is Cyclohexene
      – Definition, Features 
3. Similarities Between Cyclohexane and Cyclohexene
      – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Cyclohexane and Cyclohexene
      – Comparison of Key Differences
5. FAQ: Cyclohexane and Cyclohexene
      – Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Key Terms

Cyclohexane, Cyclohexene

Difference Between Cyclohexane and Cyclohexene  - Comparison Summary

What is Cyclohexane

Cyclohexane is a six-carbon cyclic hydrocarbon with the chemical formula C6H12. It belongs to the class of cycloalkanes and is a colorless liquid with a mild odor. Its structure consists of a hexagonal ring of carbon atoms, each bonded to two hydrogen atoms. This symmetrical arrangement results in a molecular geometry resembling a chair conformation.

One of the most notable properties of cyclohexane is its ability to undergo chair flipping, a conformational change where the hydrogen atoms shift between axial and equatorial positions. This process occurs rapidly at room temperature and is crucial in understanding the reactivity and behavior of cyclohexane and its derivatives.


Cyclohexane is widely used as a non-polar solvent in various industries, including pharmaceuticals, paints, and adhesives. Its non-polarity makes it suitable for dissolving non-polar compounds, facilitating chemical reactions and processes such as extraction and chromatography.

In organic chemistry, cyclohexane serves as a fundamental building block for the synthesis of more complex molecules. Through functionalization reactions, the hydrogen atoms on the cyclohexane ring can be replaced with other functional groups, expanding its versatility in chemical synthesis.

Despite its usefulness, cyclohexane poses some health and environmental concerns. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of cyclohexane vapor can cause irritation to the respiratory system and central nervous systems. Additionally, cyclohexane is flammable and should be handled with care.

What is Cyclohexene

Cyclohexene is an organic compound characterized by its cyclohexane ring with a double bond, belonging to the class of cycloalkenes. Its molecular formula is C6H10, and it exhibits a planar geometry due to the sp2hybridization of the carbon atoms forming the double bond. This compound is highly versatile.

One of the primary uses of cyclohexene is as a precursor in the production of nylon, which is a vital synthetic polymer. It serves as a raw material in the synthesis of adipic acid, a key component in nylon manufacturing. Additionally, cyclohexene is employed in the production of various other chemicals like cyclohexanol and cyclohexanone, which are used in the manufacture of solvents, adhesives, and plasticizers.


The reactivity of cyclohexene is attributed to its double bond, which undergoes addition reactions with various reagents, leading to the formation of different products. For instance, it readily undergoes hydrohalogenation, where a hydrogen halide adds across the double bond to yield halogenated cyclohexanes. Moreover, cyclohexene participates in hydration reactions, where water is added across the double bond under acidic or basic conditions to form cyclohexanol.

In addition to its industrial applications, cyclohexene also serves as a valuable starting material in organic synthesis for the preparation of diverse compounds. Its relatively simple structure and reactivity make it a convenient substrate for various chemical transformations, enabling the synthesis of complex molecules in pharmaceutical and agrochemical research.

Similarities Between Cyclohexane and Cyclohexene

  1. Both contain a six-membered carbon ring.
  2. They are both nonpolar molecules.

Difference Between Cyclohexane and Cyclohexene


  • Cyclohexane is a cyclic molecule with the formula of C6H12 while Cyclohexene is a cycloalkene with the formula of C6H10.


  • Cyclohexane is a saturated hydrocarbon, meaning it contains only single bonds between carbon atoms, while cyclohexene is an unsaturated hydrocarbon containing one or more double bonds.


  • Moreover, cyclohexane is relatively inert and does not readily undergo chemical reactions under normal conditions. Cyclohexene, on the other hand, is more reactive due to the presence of the double bond, making it susceptible to addition reactions.

Boiling Point

  • Cyclohexene has a lower boiling point than cyclohexane due to its unsaturated nature.


In conclusion, cyclohexane and cyclohexene are both compounds with distinct characteristics and applications. While cyclohexane is a saturated hydrocarbon composed of single bonds, cyclohexene is an unsaturated hydrocarbon featuring a double bond. Cyclohexane is prized for its role as a non-polar solvent and its utility in organic synthesis, whereas cyclohexene’s reactivity stems from its double bond, making it valuable in various industrial processes, especially in polymer production.

FAQ: Cyclohexane and Cyclohexene

1. Why is C6H12 called cyclohexane?

The name “cyclohexane” is derived from its structural composition. The prefix “cyclo” indicates that the molecule forms a ring structure, while “hexane” indicates the presence of six carbon atoms in the compound.

2. What is cyclohexane used for?

Cyclohexane acts as a solvent in chemical processes, particularly for dissolving substances like oils, fats, and waxes. Additionally, it acts as an oil extractant in the production of vegetable oils and essential oils. Moreover, cyclohexane is utilized as a paint and varnish remover due to its ability to dissolve coatings effectively.

3. What are the two forms of cyclohexane?

Chair conformation and boat conformation are the two forms of cyclohexane. In the chair conformation, the molecule has a stable and energetically favorable shape resembling a chair, with alternating carbon atoms positioned above and below the plane of the ring. However, boat conformation occurs when the molecule temporarily distorts into a boat-like shape, resulting in higher energy levels than chair conformation.

4. What reagent is used to distinguish between cyclohexane and cyclohexene?

Bromine water is a reagent used to differentiate between cyclohexane and cyclohexene. Cyclohexane, being a saturated hydrocarbon, does not react with bromine water, while cyclohexene, an unsaturated hydrocarbon, undergoes an addition reaction with bromine water. This reaction causes the bromine water to lose its color when added to cyclohexene, indicating the presence of unsaturation.

5. Why is cyclohexane more stable than cyclohexene?

Cyclohexane exhibits greater stability compared to cyclohexene due to a difference in bond saturation. Every carbon atom in cyclohexane forms four single bonds, adopting a strain-free sp3 hybridized configuration. Conversely, cyclohexene contains a double bond, introducing pi-bonding and geometric strain from the planar arrangement around the double bond.


1. “Cyclohexane – An Overview.” Science Direct.
2. “Cyclohexene.” PubChem National. NCBI.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Olefine am Beispiel von Cycloalken-v2” By Whoopie23 – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Cyclohexane-2D-skeletal” By Quasar – Own work based on Cyclohexane-2D-skeletal.svg (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasini A

Hasini is a graduate of Applied Science with a strong background in forestry, environmental science, chemistry, and management science. She is an amateur photographer with a keen interest in exploring the wonders of nature and science.

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