Ethane is a chemical compound with chemical formula C2H6. At standard temperature and pressure, ethane is a colorless, odorless gas. Ethane is isolated on an industrial scale from natural gas, and as a byproduct of petroleum refining. Its chief use is as petrochemical feedstock for ethylene production.The chief use of ethane is in the chemical industry in the production of ethene (ethylene) by steam cracking.Experimentally, ethane is under investigation as a feedstock for other commodity chemicals.Ethane can be used as a refrigerant in cryogenic refrigeration systems. On a much smaller scale, in scientific research, liquid ethane is used to vitrify water-rich samples for electron microscopy (cryo-electron microscopy). A thin film of water, quickly immersed in liquid ethane at -150 °C or colder, freezes too quickly for water to crystallize. This rapid freezing does not disrupt the structure of soft objects present in the liquid state, as the formation of ice crystals can do.