Title: Ethylene
CAS Registry Number: 74-85-1
CAS Name: Ethene
Additional Names: elayl; olefiant gas
Molecular Formula: C2H4
Molecular Weight: 28.05
Percent Composition: C 85.64%, H 14.37%
Line Formula: CH2=CH2
Literature References: Plant hormone; occurs in ripening fruit, in illuminating gas (up to 4%). Prepd by decompn of petr gases or by dehydration of alcohol. Lab prepn from alc: Gattermann-Wieland, Praxis des Organischen Chemikers (de Gruyter, Berlin, 40th ed, 1961) p 98; F. A. Wunder, E. I. Leupold, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 19, 126 (1980). Biosynthesis from 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid: D. Adams, S. F. Yang, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 76, 170 (1979). Proposed mechanism of biosynthesis: M. C. Pirrung, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 105, 7207 (1983). Toxicity data: Flury, Arch. Exp. Pathol. Pharmakol. 138, 65 (1928). Comprehensive monograph: S. A. Miller, Ethylene and its Industrial Derivatives (Ernest Benn Ltd., London, 1969) 1321 pp. Review of ethylene in biological systems: Spencer, Fortschr. Chem. Org. Naturst. 27, 31-80 (1969); of manuf: Faith, Keyes & Clark's Industrial Chemicals, F. A. Lowenheim, M. K. Moran, Eds. (Wiley-Interscience, New York, 4th ed., 1975) pp 376-384; of carcinogenic risk: IARC Monographs 60, 45-71 (1994). Review: K. M. Sundaram et al., in Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology vol. 9 (Wiley-Interscience, New York, 4th ed., 1994) pp 877-915.
Properties: Colorless, flammable gas with faint sweet odor. Burns with a luminous flame. Solidif -181° forming monoclinic prisms. mp -169.4°, bp700 -102.4°. Vapor density 0.978 (air = 1.00). One liter of ethylene gas at 760 mm and 0° weighs 1.260 g. bp2 atm -90.8°; bp10 atm -52.8°; bp30 atm -14.2°; bp50 atm 8.9°. d46.5 (liquid): 0.30342. Critical temp +9.6°; crit press. 50.7 atm. One volume of ethylene gas dissolves in about 4 vols of water at 0°, in about 9 vols of water at 25°, in 0.5 vol alcohol at 25°, in about 0.05 vol ether at 15.5°. Sol in acetone, benzene. Explosive limits (% vol in air), lower: 3.02; upper: 34. Autoignition temp: 1009°F (+543°C). LC for mice in air: 950,000 ppm (Flury).
Melting point: mp -169.4°
Boiling point: bp700 -102.4°; bp2 atm -90.8°; bp10 atm -52.8°; bp30 atm -14.2°; bp50 atm 8.9°
Density: d46.5 (liquid): 0.30342
Toxicity data: LC for mice in air: 950,000 ppm (Flury)
CAUTION: Can act as a simple asphyxiant due to oxygen displacement. Exposure to high concns may cause CNS depression, unconsciousness. See Patty's Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology vol. 2B, G. D. Clayton, F. E. Clayton, Eds. (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 4th ed., 1994) p 1241-1244.
Use: Oxyethylene welding and cutting metals; manuf alcohol, mustard gas, and many other organics. Manuf ethylene oxide (for plastics), "Polythene", polystyrene and other plastics. Plant growth regulator; used commercially to accelerate the ripening of various fruits.
Therap-Cat: Anesthetic (inhalation).
Therap-Cat-Vet: Has been used as inhalation anesthetic.
Keywords: Anesthetic (Inhalation).

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