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Butyl Group

Butyl is an organic functional group that derives from the compound butane. Butane is an organic compound that belongs to the alkane family. Butane is a molecule composed of four carbon atoms that are single-bonded to ten hydrogen atoms. Butyl’s roots can be traced back to butane.

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Butyl Formula

Butane has the molecular formula C4H10, whereas butyl has the molecular formula R – C4H9. The number of carbon atoms is the same, but the number of hydrogen atoms differs slightly. Butyl appears to be missing one hydrogen atom. Butyl’s R group refers to its ability to form bonds with other compounds, such as a halogen, a hydroxyl group, an amine, or some other group. Butyl now has a single bond available for chemical bonding with other molecules thanks to the loss of a hydrogen atom.

Butyl Structure and Functional Group Names

The butyl functional group is made up of four carbon atoms. When attached to a molecule, these four atoms can be arranged in four different bond configurations. Each arrangement has its own name to distinguish the various molecules it produces. These are the chemical names: n – butyl, s – butyl, t – butyl, and isobutyl.

n – butyl group

The n-butyl group is the first form. It is made up of all four carbon atoms linked together in a chain, and the rest of the molecule attaches to the first carbon. The structure of the n-butyl group is CH3 – CH2 – CH2 – CH2 –.

The n- symbol stands for ‘normal.’ In common names, n-butyl would be added to the molecule name. In systematic nomenclature, n-butyl would have butyl added to the molecule name.

s – butyl

The second form has the same carbon atom chain arrangement as the first, but the rest of the molecule attaches to the second carbon in the chain. The structure of the sec-butyl group is – CH3 – CH2 – CH(CH3) –.

The s – denotes secondary because it attaches to the chain’s secondary carbon. In common names, it is also referred to as sec-butyl.

S-butyl has a slightly more complicated name in terms of systematic names.

t – butyl

In the third form, three of the carbons are single-bonded to a fourth carbon in the centre, and the rest of the molecule is attached to the centre carbon. In common names, this configuration is known as t-butyl or tert-butyl. The structure of t – butyl group is (CH3)3 C –.

isobutyl group

The final form has the same carbon arrangement as t-butyl, but instead of the centre, common carbon, the attachment point is at one of the ends. In common parlance, this arrangement is known as isobutyl. The structure of isobutyl is (CH3)2 CH − CH2 −.

Butyl Compounds and their Uses



n–butyl acetate

It is used to make photographic film, safety glass, synthetic leather, perfumes, and flavouring agents.

N–butyl pthalate

It is used in insect repellants.


It is used in the production of silicones.

4–tert–butyl catechol

It is used in the production of certain plastics and synthetic rubbers to slow or stop polymerization reactions.

butylate (bis [2–methyl–propyl] carbamothoic acid S–ethyl ester) herbicide t–butyl acetate

It is used in gasoline additives.

4–tert–butylphenyl salicylate

It is used as a light absorber in plastic food wrappings.


It is used as a raw material in the production of a wide range of products, including dyes, pharmaceuticals, insecticides, and rubber chemicals.


It is used to prevent the growth of fungi.

n–butyl citrate

It is used as an anti – foaming agent, a plasticizer, and in the production of inks and polishes.


It is used to treat hypoglycemia (an abnormally low blood sugar level).


It is used in screens out ultraviolet light.

t–butyl nitrate

It is used in jet propellant.

n–butyl strearate

It is used in the softening of cosmetics, plastics, textiles, and other polymers.

Frequently Asked Questions on Butyl Group

How is a butyl group formed?

The butyl group is made up of the atoms C4H9–. It is formed by removing one hydrogen atom from either of the isomers of butane, C4H10, and comes in four different isomeric forms.

What is a butyl group in chemistry?

A butyl group is any saturated, acyclic alkyl group derived from butane or 2-methylpropane with four carbon atoms.

How many isomers are possible for butyl?

Butyl group exists in four isomeric forms. The four isomers are n – butyl, s – butyl, t – butyl and isobutyl.

How do you identify isobutyl and sec butyl?

The primary distinction between isobutyl and sec-butyl is that the isobutyl group has a branched structure at the second carbon atom of the carbon chain, whereas the sec-butyl group has a branched structure at the first carbon atom of the carbon chain.

What is the molecular formula of butyl?

The molecular formula of butyl is C4H9 –.

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