previous topic
Glossary Index
Glossary Index
next topic
Alkali Metal
Free Sites FAQ's Regulations Glossary Software Suppliers
Books Forum Poll Fun stuff Quiz Store
Understand your MSDS with the MS-Demystifier Search ALL our MSDS info



An aliphatic compound is one that is not aromatic; i.e. it lacks a particular arrangement of atoms in its molecular structure.

Additional Info

Aliphatic is especially used in reference to open-chain (non-cyclic) hydrocarbons. The term can also apply to open-chain hydrocarbon sub-units of larger organic molecules, for example "aliphatic group" or "aliphatic substituent".

Some references define aliphatic with the term "linear hydrocarbon chains", but the term actually includes branched chains as well. Likewise, some definitions of aliphatic permit these chains to contain elements besides hydrogen and carbon. Be sure to check the hydrocarbon entry more information about the various types of hydrocarbons and their nomenclature.

Aliphatic hydrocarbons are major components of everyday materials such as turpentine, gasoline and oil-based paints.

2 quart laboratory safety can

Store and dispense flammable liquids safely with flammable liquid safety cans from Safety Emporium.

SDS Relevance

Aliphatic hydrocarbons and their chemical derivatives are often quite flammable. While some pose no serious health risk, others, such as n-hexane are known neurotoxins. Most aliphatics can lead to defatting (drying) of the skin, which can possibly lead to dermatitis (eczema).

Always wear proper gloves and eye protection when working with aliphatic materials. Be sure to wear an appropriate respirator if ventilation is not adequate, and be careful to avoid ignition sources as the vapors can easily reach their flammable limit.

Further Reading

See also: hydrocarbon, aromatic, organic.

Further definitions from Google and OneLook.

Entry last updated: Saturday, February 1, 2020. This page is copyright 2000-2021 by ILPI. Unauthorized duplication or posting on other web sites is expressly prohibited. Send suggestions, comments, and new entry desires (include the URL if applicable) to us by email.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is believed to be true and accurate, however ILPI makes no guarantees concerning the veracity of any statement. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. ILPI strongly encourages the reader to consult the appropriate local, state and federal agencies concerning the matters discussed herein.