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**Chemical Properties and Applications:**
Ethylene has a molecular structure with four hydrogen atoms bound to a pair of carbon atoms connected by a double bond.
– The H-C-H angle in ethylene is 117.4°, and all six atoms are coplanar.
– The double bond in ethylene is highly reactive and susceptible to attack by electrophiles.
– Major industrial reactions involving ethylene include polymerization, oxidation, halogenation, alkylation, hydration, oligomerization, and hydroformylation.
Ethylene is used in various industrial processes to create products like ethylene oxide, ethylene glycol, and vinyl chloride.
– More than half of the world’s ethylene supply is used in polyethylene production, which is the most widely used plastic globally.

**Production and Manufacturing Process:**
Ethylene is produced through the steam cracking of hydrocarbons via high-temperature pyrolysis.
– Catalysts like alumina and silica are used in the production process.
Ethylene is a crucial raw material in the production of plastics, with total emissions from production exceeding 260 million tonnes a year.
– Efforts are being made to reduce CO2 emissions from ethylene plants, with a focus on net-zero carbon production for sustainability.
– Research is ongoing to produce ethylene from carbon dioxide, and carbon capture technologies are being explored.

**Historical Significance:**
Ethylene was discovered in the 18th century and gained attention for its anesthetic properties in the early 20th century.
– Its role in plant biology was studied extensively in the 1980s, and its historical uses include chemical synthesis and anesthesia.
– The etymology and nomenclature of ethylene have historical roots, with the name ‘ethylene’ being used as early as 1852.

**Environmental Impact and Sustainability:**
– The manufacturing process of ethylene emits CO2, contributing to global emissions.
– Breakthroughs in carbon capture conversion are enhancing sustainability in ethylene production.
– Net-zero carbon ethylene production is a focus for sustainability, with efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and explore carbon capture technologies.

**Regulatory and Safety Aspects:**
Ethylene is listed as an IARC class 3 carcinogen, but there is no current evidence that it causes cancer in humans.
– Safety guidelines exist for the handling and storage of ethylene, which is a combustible asphyxiant.
– Regulatory bodies monitor ethylene production for environmental compliance, and nomenclature standards by IUPAC govern the naming of ethylene compounds.

Ethylene (Wikipedia)

Ethylene (IUPAC name: ethene) is a hydrocarbon which has the formula C2H4 or H2C=CH2. It is a colourless, flammable gas with a faint "sweet and musky" odour when pure. It is the simplest alkene (a hydrocarbon with carbon–carbon double bonds).

IUPAC name
Preferred IUPAC name
Other names
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.000.742 Edit this at Wikidata
EC Number
  • 200-815-3
RTECS number
  • KU5340000
UN number 1962 1038
  • InChI=1S/C2H4/c1-2/h1-2H2 checkY
  • InChI=1/C2H4/c1-2/h1-2H2
  • C=C
Molar mass 28.054 g·mol−1
Appearance colourless gas
Density 1.178 kg/m3 at 15 °C, gas
Melting point −169.2 °C (−272.6 °F; 104.0 K)
Boiling point −103.7 °C (−154.7 °F; 169.5 K)
0.131 mg/mL (25 °C);[citation needed] 2.9 mg/L
Solubility in ethanol 4.22 mg/L
Solubility in diethyl ether good
Acidity (pKa) 44
Conjugate acid Ethenium
-15.30·10−6 cm3/mol
Viscosity 10.28 μPa·s
219.32 J·K−1·mol−1
+52.47 kJ/mol
GHS labelling:
GHS02: FlammableGHS07: Exclamation mark
H220, H336
P210, P261, P271, P304+P340, P312, P377, P381, P403, P403+P233, P405, P501
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
NFPA 704 four-colored diamondHealth 2: Intense or continued but not chronic exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury. E.g. chloroformFlammability 4: Will rapidly or completely vaporize at normal atmospheric pressure and temperature, or is readily dispersed in air and will burn readily. Flash point below 23 °C (73 °F). E.g. propaneInstability 2: Undergoes violent chemical change at elevated temperatures and pressures, reacts violently with water, or may form explosive mixtures with water. E.g. white phosphorusSpecial hazards (white): no code
Flash point −136 °C (−213 °F; 137 K)
542.8 °C (1,009.0 °F; 815.9 K)
Safety data sheet (SDS) ICSC 0475
Related compounds
Supplementary data page
Ethylene (data page)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
checkY verify (what is checkY☒N ?)

Ethylene is widely used in the chemical industry, and its worldwide production (over 150 million tonnes in 2016) exceeds that of any other organic compound. Much of this production goes toward creating polyethylene, which is a widely used plastic containing polymer chains of ethylene units in various chain lengths. Production emits greenhouse gas: including methane from feedstock production and carbon dioxide from any non-sustainable energy used.

Ethylene is also an important natural plant hormone and is used in agriculture to induce the ripening of fruits. The hydrate of ethylene is ethanol.

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