Hexadecane is an alkane
Alkanes are chemical compounds that consist only of hydrogen and carbon atoms and are bonded exclusively by single bonds without any cycles...

In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

 with the chemical formula
Chemical formula
A chemical formula or molecular formula is a way of expressing information about the atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound....

 C16H34. Hexadecane consists of a chain of 16 carbon atoms, with three hydrogen atoms bonded to the two end carbon atoms, and two hydrogens bonded to each of the 14 other carbon atoms.

Cetane is often used as a short-hand for cetane number
Cetane number
Cetane number or CN is a measurement of the combustion quality of diesel fuel during compression ignition. It is a significant expression of diesel fuel quality among a number of other measurements that determine overall diesel fuel quality.- Definition :...

, a measure of the detonation of diesel fuel. Cetane ignites very easily under compression; for this reason, it is assigned a cetane number of 100, and serves as a reference for other fuel mixtures.

It has one of the lowest octane numbers, at <−30.

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