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Comprehensive Review Of Ethyne

The hydrocarbon series is an interesting one and it’s worth knowing what it is all about and what it has got to offer. As we all know hydrocarbon is beneficial to the modern world and way of life and as such a lot of information regarding it must be disseminated and learned about. 

There are 4 outstanding types or classes of hydrocarbons and a good one is the alkynes. This review is here to expose and furnish you with comprehensive but well-researched information on one of the simplest forms of Alkynes which is ethyne.  So read the below review to get more insight about this organic compound.

Read: A Comprehensive Review Of An Alkene

What is Ethyne?

Triple Bonds Ethyne
This Image Shows the Formula alongside the Triple Bonds Ethyne

Ethyne which is a systematic name for Acetylene is a form of hydrocarbon as well as the simplest of alkyne. It is the chemical compound that comes with the formula C2H2. Ethyne is a colorless gas that is generally used as a chemical building block or a fuel. It can be said that ethyne is unstable in its pure form since it is always used as a solution. Though pure ethyne is odorless but it has the commercial grades too that have marked odor because of its impurities.

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Why Ethyne is Called Acetylene?

This was coined from the French word acetylene in 1864 by Marcelin-Pierre Eugene Barthelot, a French Chemist. It was taken from the chemical that ends with ENE plus acetyl which was also coined from acetic in 1839 by Justus Von Liebig, a German chemist.

Is Ethyne Soluble in Water?

Yes, Ethyne is said to be slightly soluble in water but highly soluble in organic solvents such as alcohol and acetone. This is because water is polar and ethyne is nonpolar and as such during this short time of polarity, the gas molecule gets attracted by a water molecule and therefore, causing solubility.

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What Are the Common Uses of Ethynes?

The common uses of ethyne are:

For welding: About 20% of ethyne is supplied via the industrial gases industry for oxyacetylene gas welding as well as cutting because of the high temperature of the flame from ethynes. This is because the combustion of ethynes with oxygen delivers a flame that is over 3,600K. The truth is that ethyne is the third hottest natural chemical flame after dicyanocetylene.

For portable lighting: It is used to generate light for lamps for remote or portable applications through calcium carbide. These light applications were first used by cavers and miners before the advent of incandescent lighting. They are still being used in mining industries in some nations that have no workplace safety rules.

Used For Plastics And Acrylic Acid Derivatives: Ethynes is converted to acrylic acid derivatives and it was used to form products like glasses, polymers, acrylic fibers, and paints as well as being used for providing a feedstock for a various polyethylene plastics.

For Other Niche Applications: Ethynes can be used for various other things like producing polyacetylene films, high electrical conducting material, developments of organic semiconductors, for illumination (street lighting in some towns) as inhalation anesthetic, used for carburization and as volatilize carbon in radiocarbon dating.

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How is Ethyne Formed?

Ethyne is formed from carbons atoms and hydrogen atoms. The carbon atom doesn’t have enough unpaired electrons to form bonds which are one to the hydrogen and three to the other carbon. So it needs to promote one of the 2s2 pair into the empty 2p2 orbital.

Is Ethyne Polar or Non Polar?

Ethyne isn’t polar from discovery; it is non-polar since there’s nothing negative or positive about its structure of the molecules. The fact is for a thing to be polar, there should be a side of the molecule that is highly electronegative than the other and this is what can’t be found with ethyne. It is only made of hydrogen and carbon.

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Can Ethyne Kill?

Unfortunately, the response here is affirmative. Yes, it can kill, too much inhalation of ethyne can bring bad health symptoms like headache, dizziness, tachypnea, vomiting, fatigue, tachycardia, and with higher exposure to it one can become unconscious and death follows. So it’s better to stay safe when handling this colorless gas.

What Type of Compound is Ethyne?

Ethyne which is another name for Acetylene is a chemical compound. This is because it is composed of many identical molecules composed of atoms (hydrogen and carbon) from more than one element that is held together by chemical bonds. Ethyne is a member of the hydrocarbon series that has one or more carbon atoms that are linked via triple bonds.

What is the Formula for Ethyne?

The formula for ethyne is C2H2. These denote that the number of carbon and hydrogen is equal (which is two in Carbon (C2) and Hydrogen (H2) respectively.

Can Ethyne Burn Without Oxygen?

The answer is yes, Ethyne is one gas that can ignite without the availability of oxygen or air. This happens when acetylene breaks down into its constituent elements which are carbon and hydrogen by the chemical reaction of decomposition. So this reaction will bring immense heat which will then cause it to ignite with no air or oxygen present.

Is Ethyne Organic or Inorganic?

This simplest alkyne odorless gas with a molecular formula of a C2H2 called ethyne is an organic compound. This is because it has structural simplicity but with high reactivity. It can be said too, to be a versatile building block for organic synthesis and its chemistry has evolved quickly.

What is the Structure of Ethyne?

Ethyne with the formula CHH2 is a linear molecule that has a SP1 hybridization as a sigma bond between the two carbon atoms. In a perpendicular way, there are two P orbitals on each carbon which form two pi bonds. Then, between the carbon atoms exists a triple bond.

Features of Ethyne

The following are said to be features of ethyne:

  • Ethyne is the systematic name for Aceteylene
  • It is a hydrocarbon but the simplest of alkyne
  • It is highly inflammable and has distinct garlic like smell.
  • It is a colorless fuel mostly used for chemical building bock and as a fuel
  • Ethyne is always handled as a solution  because of its pure form
  • It can burn without the presence of oxygen or air due to decomposition
  • Ethyne is said to be slightly soluble in water and lighter than air.

Where Does Ethyne Comes From?

Ethyne can be gotten in three different ways, they are:

  • Ethyne can be gotten through reaction of water with calcium
  • It can be gotten through passage of a hydrocarbon via an electric arc
  • And through partial combustion of methane with either oxygen or air

Hydrogenation of Ethyne

Hydrogenation means the addition of hydrogen, which means that the complete hydrogenation of ethyne will bring forth ethane. How is that possible, well during the catalytic hydrogenation of Ethyne, which is the first step ethene is formed then with the second step it is further reduced to ethane (which is also an organic chemical compound and a colorless and odorless gas). It is used in homes and used for producing a chemical called ethylene. When Ethyne undergoes hydrogenation in the presence of sulphuric acid then ethanol (a class of organic compounds that is well known as alcohols) is formed.

What Are Ethyne Advantages and Disadvantages?

Ethyne has its pros and cons but the good thing is that the pros always outweigh the cons. The following are the pros and cons of ethyne

The Pros of Ethyne

  • Ethyne equipment can be used to flame cut large pieces of material
  • It can be used for wielding applications and its equipment is cheaper than most other types of wielding rigs
  • It is a great as a form of fuel
  • Ethyne used equipment are portable and even cheaper than other types of wielding rigs
  • Provides portable lighting
  • It helps in the production of chemicals
  • It is useful when it comes to production of polyethylene plastics
  • It can be used for heat treating

The Cons of Ethyne

  • It isn’t suitable for refractory metals
  • It isn’t the best for heavy sections
  • It has less working temperature of gas flame
  • There’s the problem of storing and handling it

What Are the Physical Properties of Ethyne?

  • Ethyne at atmospheric pressure can’t exist as liquid
  • It does not have a melting point
  • Ethyne can only exist at minimal pressure of 1.27atm
  • At a temperature below the triple point -80.8 Celsius, solid ethyne can change directly to the vapor or gas via sublimation. This sublimation point at atmospheric pressure at this point would be -84.0 Celsius
  • At room temperature, the solubility of ethyne in acetone will be 27.9g per kg


Ethyne like any other chemical compound has come to be useful to the world. This colorless gas has helped in providing fuel and being a chemical that can be used in various ways and as such its usefulness still outweigh the bad sides of it.

Everything comes with its bad sides too but the abuse of makes it worse. Ethyne can kill which is a fact, but this can only happen with overtly exposure to it, and as such handling of this gas must be with utmost care and safety. So here you have it all the basic information you needed to know about ethyne and all that it has to offer.

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