Isobutane is – you guessed it – another element found in natural gas liquids – or NGLs. It is another piece of the puzzle when you think of the building blocks to make some of the products that we all use every day.
Isobutane is especially important for all of the car enthusiasts out there. That’s because if you want your car to run smoothly, Isobutane is a critical element. It is used as an additive in high-octane gasoline! It helps make sure your engine stays safe and when it’s mixed with other ingredients it can help reduce pollution during the summer months.
It’s also used as a refrigerant. Wait – a what?
A refrigerant! It’s something that helps make things colder. You put it in things like the air conditioner in your car and at home. You can even put it into your refrigerator and freezer. One thing is for sure – when you don’t have enough refrigerant you’ll know it’s missing. How? Well, have you ever turned on the air-conditioning and it just seems to blow hot? Or turn the cold dial up in the fridge and the food still keeps spoiling? Now you know – you need more refrigerant!
Isobutane is also used as a propellant for things like hairspray, deodorant, cleaning products, sunscreens, bug sprays, and even lighters. It’s the chemical that pushes out the product in a nice even spray. It gives it the force to push it out of the bottle and onto whatever you are trying to clean, protect, or make smell better!
If those weren’t enough, Isobutane is also used as a building block to create polyurethane, an adaptive material used for more industrial and consumer products than you’d probably think. Depending on what you would place as most important to you, polyurethane can be used as either insulation for heat, as a coating for your back deck to make sure the wood doesn’t rot or splinter, for adhesives to cover up those ouchies, and as thread for clothing and furniture. That’s just a few things. It’s part of what keeps millions of kids safe in their car seats, warm in their bed, and cozy on the couch.
With heating and cooling costs amounting to as much as 56 percent of the energy the average American uses at home according to the U.S. Department of Energy, remember that polyurethane and Isobutane make a big contribution to ensuring our homes are not only warm or cool depending on the time of year – but also more energy efficient!