Copyright

Ethylene: Properties & Uses

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Joseph Lister: Biography, Facts & Inventions

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Ethylene - Structure &…
  • 1:19 Uses of Ethylene - Commercial
  • 2:02 Uses of Ethylene - Biological
  • 2:41 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: John Williams
Ethylene is one of the simplest hydrocarbons, yet has properties that make it biologically and commercially important. In this lesson, we'll learn about ethylene, its properties, and its uses.

Ethylene - Structure & Properties

Hydrocarbons are molecules that contain hydrogen and carbon. These molecules vary widely in terms of the numbers of carbons and hydrogens, the numbers of single and double bonds, and the structural orientation of each component. Therefore, it is possible to have extremely small hydrocarbons, such as methane, and extremely large hydrocarbons. In this lesson, we will discuss ethylene, one of the smaller, but biologically and commercially useful hydrocarbons. We will also discuss its properties and uses.

Ethylene is one of the simplest hydrocarbons. It comes in a gaseous form, and similar to many other hydrocarbons, it is colorless and flammable. It consists of two double-bonded carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms occupying the other bond positions. This gives ethylene a chemical formula of C2H4. The structural shape of the ethylene molecule is linear, or a straight line, due to the presence of the double bond in the center of the molecule.

Ethylene has a distinctive property that makes it relatively well recognized. Ethylene has a sweet, musky smell which makes it identifiable in the air. This smell is typically of pure ethylene gas. It can fade as ethylene mixes with other chemicals and gases.

Uses of Ethylene - Commercial

Ethylene is commercially as a precursor for larger organic, or carbon containing, materials. Single ethylene molecules can be bonded together to make polyethylene, which means 'many ethylene molecules.' Polyethylene is used to make plastics, such as trash bags and films. It is also used to make detergents and synthetic lubricants, which are chemicals used to reduce friction.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support