Production And Applications Of Ethylene
Ethylene is a member of the alkene group with which the two carbon atoms are separated by a double bond. The primary raw material for the production of Ethylene or Ethane which a chemical formula of C2H4 is the natural gas (Harjunkoski, 2014). The natural gas can be obtained either through exploration from the conventional wells or the unconventional well or can be synthesized in the laboratories. The natural gas will then be used through the cracking process to produce ethylene by breaking the long chain alkyne with a three carbon to carbon bonds into a simple unsaturated hydrocarbon with a double. The process gives the manufacturers easy time in the production process and thus its availability in the market. Ethylene can be noticed by its sweet smell, and this property can assist to differentiate it from the hydrocarbons.
Importance of Ethylene
Most of the companies globally benefit from this product because it’s an essential building block for many products. These are because of its monomer property it can be used to make a long polymer by just connecting one monomer to the others hence coming up with a long chain. Additionally, due to this property that it can join with other monomers gives it the advantage to be used in the production of other products. However, due to the ease of production and not very high temperature is needed in the cracking process makes it be of use to many producers. The range of temperature required for this process is not much (Harjunkoski, 2014).
The Molecular structure
The molecular structure is the composition of the atoms and how they are arranged together. The structure is composed of two carbon atoms and the four carbon atoms. The double bond is between the carbon atoms in the structure whereas the four hydrogen atoms are distributed around the two carbon atoms in the formula. Since a single carbon atom can only hold a maximum of four bonds, it shows that each of the carbon atoms is in demand of two bonds to make them balance and fill the gap. Therefore, each of the carbon atoms will take two available hydrogen atoms. (Harjunkoski, 2014)These will make the structure complete and stable.
The Stability and reactivity of Ethylene
A stable compound is one which does not need to react at any given temperature and pressure. Ethylene will attain its stability at the standard temperature and pressure without which it can readily decompose and form a different compound. If the stability is not taken into consideration, it can lead to explosive decomposition due to lack of air at high temperature and pressure. Ethylene is very reactive and can readily polymerize with other monomers when subjected to the temperature which above the room temperature during storage.
Precautions during Handling of Ethylene
1.Make sure that it is stored well in a cool, dry place according to the current instructions pertaining regulations and the standards. This will prevent any physical damage that might occur during handling. The instructions given for storage must be considered and followed carefully.
2.The equipment that is used to provide ventilation must not have any explosive concentration in it that might lead to the explosion when in contact with Ethylene. For many ventilation systems, a local exhaust system is recommended with an applicable exposure limit.
3.When handling Ethylene safety goggles should be worn especially handling liquid Ethylene. The recommended eye safety glasses are to be used to prevent any splash from coming into contact with your eye. However, in the case of any splash an immediate eye wash emergency is recommended since the compound is corrosive.
4.Gloves and other protective clothing such long lab coats are recommended when handling this product in the laboratory or any other place. However, a cold insulating clothing is recommended when handling the liquid. The gloves to be used here should be insulated.
5.The storage should be in a place where there no sparks, flames or heat that might lead to an explosion. The pressure must also be kept for example pressurized containers are recommended since Ethylene is flammable (Harjunkoski, 2014).
The applications and uses of Ethylene
Ethylene is used by many industries to perform a lot of operations due to its vital and diverse properties. It is used so well in the chemical industries to produce other products, and it is also used in packaging industries to make the variety of products. For example when we look at the packaging industries, its used when one monomer of ethylene is joined with other monomers to form a long chain called a polymer, which in this case it will be called polyethylene with the naming coming from the parent ethylene. This product is used by many companies like the supermarkets to assist in packaging during selling and buying. Perhaps, many industries and consumers can now not work without this product.
Polyethylene with a high-density property is used in molding, and injection molding such as containers, household goods, pipes, pallets, industrial lining and carrier bags explained above. These products have a wide variety of uses in meeting consumer needs. The pipes commonly known as the PVC are used by many plumbers globally for installation in the different house. Most household’s products such as the kitchen wares are mainly made of plastic from these group. The carrier bags are used in pack goods in many market sectors. These have assisted the consumers to operate smoothly and more efficiently.
Ethylene is mixed with oxygen in a reactor to form ethylene oxide which is then used in the production ethylene glycol which can be taken as one monomer.A repetition of this is used to make the polyester fiber that is widely applied in the textile industries to make clothes which are then sold to the consumers globally for use. Perhaps, you will not be surprised that the fabric you are wearing now is made of polyester. Other industries using the same product is the film industries as a polyester film to make movies that we are currently watching. Other uses of these products are in the manufacture of shampoo that is commonly used in many hair dressing companies for hair cleaning purposed. Some customers also take the product for domestic consumption in the house.
A reaction between the benzene ring and ethylene give rise ethyl-Benzene which is used in the formation of styrene as an intermediate product. From this product, we can come up with different products like synthetic rubbers used to in the tire manufacturing company to make tires and other products. Polystyrene can also be used to make plastic and cups used by many people in the kitchen. These products are present in the supermarkets, and their markets are widespread. Polystyrene can also be hardened to make a high-quality plastic that can be used in the making of motor vehicle body parts (Harjunkoski, 2014).
Harjunkoski, I., Maravelias, C. T., Bongers, P., Castro, P. M., Engel, S., Grossmann, I. E. … & Wassick, J. (2014). Scope for industrial applications of production scheduling models and solution methods. Computers & Chemical Engineering, 62, 161-193.