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Preparation of Ethylene from Ethyl alcohol

Ethyl alcohol is an essential chemical that we frequently prepare in our laboratories for various purposes. There are main 3 ways of Preparation of Ethylene from Ethyl alcohol Dehydration. So, From this article, we are going to cover up all 3 with details. Reaction mechanisms also included.

Firstly, let’s have a look at the main 3 methods of preparing Ethylene from Ethyl alcohol. They are,

  1. With concentrated sulfuric acid.
  2. With “syrupy” phosphoric acid.
  3. By using alumina or thoria.

Let’s discuss each of the above methods of preparing Ethylene from Ethyl alcohol one by one.

1. Prepare Ethyl alcohol by Sulfuric acid

This is the most convenient method that we follow in the laboratory. So, let’s discuss how it is done.

Preparation of Ethylene from Ethyl alcohol by sulfuric acid

About 20ml of ethyl alcohol added carefully, in small amounts, to about 60ml of concentrated sulfuric acid contained in a 2-liter flask. (These quantities are in the approximate molecular proportions of 1:3, respectively.) much heat evolves during the mixing. Also, to avoid the temperature rising too much, the flask may dip at intervals in a trough of cold water. During the mixing, ethyl hydrogen sulfate form.

C2H5OH + H2SO4 → C2H5O.SO2OH (ethyl hydrogen sulfate) + H2O

A little sand adds to the mixture. The flask fit with a safety funnel and connect up as above figure. Then heat the mixture over a sand bath. When the temperature reaches about 1700C, ethylene comes off in a steady stream. Also, the unstable ethyl hydrogen sulfate is decomposing.

C2H5.HSO4 → C2H4 + H2SO4

As usual in organic chemistry, side reactions, in addition to the main one, take place. Almost always when an organic compound heat with concentrated sulfuric acid, some carbon liberates. Also, after that, it gives a dark brown color to the mixture. “Charring”, as this process is called. Also, it is seen to occur in the course of the above preparation. Also since sulfuric acid is an oxidizing agent, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide form.

C + 2H2SO4 → CO2 + 2SO2 + 2H2O

These two acidic anhydrides absorb in the wash bottle containing a 10% aqueous solution of caustic soda.

Also, other impurities coming off are either and unchanged alcohol. Most of these condense as liquids in either the wah bottle or the pneumatic trough. So, let’s discuss the use of syrupy phosphoric acid under the Preparation of Ethylene from Ethyl alcohol.

2. Preparation of Ethylene form Ethyl Alcohol by “syrupy” phosphoric acid

Syrupy phosphoric acid or a concentrated solution of orthophosphoric acid, H3PO4, in water is a convenient dehydrating agent. Also, the solution of syrupy phosphoric acid heat to about 2000C and ethyl alcohol drop into it slowly from a tap funnel.

C2H5OH + H3PO4 → C2H4 + H2O

No carbon or sulfur dioxide from here but a certain amount of ether and alcohol distill water.

3. With Alumina or thoria

Likewise, we can prepare ethyl alcohol by alumina in a hard glass tube heated by a furnace to about 350-4000C.

C2H5OH + Al2O3 (4000C) → C2H4 + H2O

The apparatus used for this method displayed below.

Preparation of Ethylene from Ethyl alcohol by heated tube and alumina

Summary of Preparation of Ethylene from Ethyl alcohol

So, from this article, you gained good knowledge about the Preparation of Ethylene from Ethyl alcohol. There are 3 methods. They are,

  1. With concentrated sulfuric acid.
  2. With “syrupy” phosphoric acid.
  3. By using alumina or thoria.

Preparing ethyl alcohol with concentrated sulfuric acid is the easiest and most frequent method. Also, that method is the most convenient laboratory method for preparing ethyl alcohol. Apart from that method, the other two methods used to prepare ethyl alcohol industrially.

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