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Synthesis of Ethylene

  1. Feb 26, 2016 #1
    I'm trying to get a hold of Ethylene, but because of it's properties it's not sold commercially, so I'm trying to find a way to synthesize it.
    The closest thing I can find to synthesize it is Ethylene glycol
    I'm pretty sure I could add Na as so
    C2H6O2 + 2Na → 2(CH2) + 2(NaOH)
    The problem is then how to remove the sodium hydroxide from solution without further reactions effecting the Ethylene.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2016 #2

    Borek

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    Yes it is.

    You can add Na, but you won't get the product you expect.

    There are known laboratory procedures for preparing ethene, any decent synthesis handbook (like Vogel's Textbook of Practical Organic Chemistry) will have them.
     
  4. Feb 29, 2016 #3

    DrDu

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  5. Feb 29, 2016 #4
    I couldn't find a place to buy it.
    What will I get then? Is there some other part of ethylene glycol that would react with the Na sooner than the hydroxyl group?
     
  6. Feb 29, 2016 #5
  7. Feb 29, 2016 #6

    Borek

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    So where are you going to get metallic sodium from? Is it sold to everyone?

    To be honest (and blunt): if you have no idea what are possible reactions between an alcohol and metallic sodium, you should not even try what you are planning. It is simply way too dangerous.
     
  8. Feb 29, 2016 #7

    TeethWhitener

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    You might be able to purchase denatured ethanol at a hardware store. I dunno the exact rules. But you do need to be careful and get some supervision from people who have more experience than you do. If you still want to pursue this, at least have a look at this page: http://mattson.creighton.edu/AllGases.html Ethylene is included on the list of gases and the site gives a (relatively) easy procedure for its synthesis (along with a few interesting experiments).
     
  9. Feb 29, 2016 #8
    Metallic sodium is fairly easy to acquire

    I've done plenty of chemistry before, I'm adept at certain aspects of it, I know lab protocol, the reason I am asking is because you made a fairly declarative statement that the reaction would not go as I had planned.
     
  10. Feb 29, 2016 #9
    Yeah, maybe I should take this to school and get help from my former Chem teacher to do this, I'm fairly certain I could do it, but since you're both warning me I should probably do this with a professional.
     
  11. Feb 29, 2016 #10

    Borek

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    Hint: -OH group in alcohols is slightly acidic. Adding sodium to any alcohol will produce a gas, but not the one you expect.
     
  12. Feb 29, 2016 #11
    I can't believe I missed something that should've been so obvious
    C2H6O2 + 4(Na) → C2H4 + 2(Na2O) + H2
    Perhaps I should do this only with professional oversight, because I very well could've exploded if I had done this reaction as I had planned.
     
  13. Mar 1, 2016 #12

    Borek

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    That's still wrong - you have correctly identified hydrogen as a product, but you won't get neither Na2O nor ethylene. I would expect some alkoxide.
     
  14. Mar 1, 2016 #13

    DrDu

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    I won't exclude the possibility that the alkoxide decomposes into ethylene and Na2O on heating.

    Edit: Just looked it up: page 598 of

    https://books.google.de/books?id=bD...Sodium ethoxide thermal decomposition&f=false

    states that main products of thermal decomposition at temperatures above 573K of the ethoxide are methane and ethylene besides some ethane, propylene and others.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
  15. Mar 1, 2016 #14

    Borek

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    Thanks for the correction. Actually I didn't though about a further thermal decomposition.

    But my main line of thinking was that I don't expect the reaction to run "clean", I would expect a mixture of products (even more complicated than the one produced on the ethoxide decomposition, presence of the second -OH seems to be giving additional pathways).
     
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