Where Is Ethylene Found?


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Arlene Fernandes Profile
Production of the organic compound Ethylene in the petrochemical industry takes place by steam cracking. This is a process wherein light liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons are temporarily heated to about 750–950 °C, which induces many free radical reactions. Usually, in this process, large hydrocarbons ultimately break down in to smaller hydrocarbons. Also, in these reactions, saturated hydrocarbons become unsaturated. Ultimately, a complex mixture of hydrocarbons results from this process. Ethylene is one of the chief components. After this, repeated compression and distillation is used to separate the mixture.

There is also another process which is used in oil refineries wherein large hydrocarbon molecules are eventually "cracked" into smaller ones. It is even found in plants, where this organic compound acts physiologically as a hormone.

Ethylene is produced on the biggest scale. For instance, in the year 2005, its global production surpassed 75,000,000 metric tonnes per year.

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