Ethylene (Ethene) has the chemical formula C2H4. It is the simplest alkene, being an unsaturated hydrocarbon (olefin) with a carbon-carbon double bond.
Ethylene is the most produced organic compound in the world, with global production of exceeding 107 million metric tonnes in 2005. It is extremely important in industry and also has a role in biology as a hormone.
Due to its ability to undergo many types of reactions leading to a plethora of major chemical products, ethylene plays a vital role as a building block in the petrochemical industry. Some major types of reactions it can undergo include: polymerisation, oxidation, halogenation and hydrohalogenation. Ethylene is also used as a ripening agent for fruits and vegetables.
An ethylene detector can be used to measure the concentration of ethylene in the air. There are several ethylene gas detectors on the market, and Air-Met can help you select the correct model for you application.
0.97 (air = 1)
Safe Work Australia ES
Not applicable – simple asphyxiant
2.3 % by volume
36.0 % by volume
Ethylene is a colourless gas with a sweet odour and taste. It burns with a luminous flame.
Ethylene has an anaesthetic effect but has not been shown to have any toxic properties. It is highly flammable.
Ethylene is used extensively in the chemical industry as a raw material for the production of substances such as polyethylene, ethylene oxide, ethyl alcohol and styrene.
It occurs naturally in some fruits and is used in agriculture to accelerate the ripening of fruits.