Ethylene’s Bonding and Products

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Identify that ethylene, because of the high reactivity of its double bond, is readily transformed into many useful products

  • The double bond present in alkenes, such as ethylene, makes them much more reactive than their corresponding alkanes.
  • Many substances react with alkenes through breaking open the double bond into two single bonds, this being an example of an addition reaction.
  • Addition Reaction: A reaction in which two or more molecules are reacted together to form a single molecule.


Structure of ethylene, with its double bond between carbon atoms


Product Ethanol Ethylene oxide Ethylene glycol Vinyl chloride
Reactants Ethylene and water Ethylene and oxygen Ethylene oxide and dilute acid Oxygen and chlorine
Conditions – High pressure
– About 300˚C
– Phosphoric acid catalyst
About 250˚C with silver as a catalyst Treatment with dilute acid solution – About 150˚C
– Copper chloride catalyst
Uses – Fuel
– Industrial, commercial and domestic solvent
– Cleaning and disinfecting fluid
Fumigant – Anti-freeze liquid
– Manufacturing of polyester
Monomer for producing polyvinyl chloride
2D structure diagram
3D structure diagram

Products of ethylene