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Ethylene vs. Acetylene: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on January 11, 2024
Ethylene is a colorless gas (C2H4), important in plant physiology and used in the chemical industry. Acetylene is a colorless, flammable gas (C2H2), used especially in welding and as a fuel.

Key Differences

Ethylene, a hydrocarbon with a double bond, plays a crucial role in plant aging and fruit ripening, while acetylene is known for its highly flammable nature and is extensively used in welding and cutting metals.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024
In the field of organic chemistry, ethylene is considered the simplest alkene, featuring a carbon-carbon double bond, whereas acetylene stands as the simplest alkyne, distinguished by a carbon-carbon triple bond.
Huma Saeed
Jan 11, 2024
Ethylene is widely utilized in the manufacturing of plastics, like polyethylene, and is a key hormone in plants. Acetylene, on the other hand, finds its major use in oxyacetylene torches for cutting and welding due to its high temperature flame.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024
The production of ethylene typically involves steam cracking of hydrocarbons, whereas acetylene is primarily produced by the reaction of calcium carbide with water, showcasing different industrial processes.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024
Environmentally, ethylene is less hazardous and has a lower impact, while acetylene requires careful handling due to its explosive nature, particularly in its pure form or when mixed with air.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 11, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Structure

C2H4, with a double bond
C2H2, with a triple bond
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024

Primary Uses

Plant hormone, plastic production
Welding, metal cutting
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024

Production Process

Steam cracking of hydrocarbons
Reaction of calcium carbide with water
Huma Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Flammability

Less flammable
Highly flammable
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024

Environmental Impact

Relatively low
Higher due to explosive nature
Aimie Carlson
Jan 11, 2024
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Ethylene and Acetylene Definitions

Ethylene

Ethylene is produced by plants and is crucial for processes like leaf fall.
The yellowing of leaves in autumn is partly due to ethylene signaling.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 23, 2023

Acetylene

Produced from calcium carbide and water, acetylene is used in lighting.
Before electric lights, acetylene lamps were widely used for illumination.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 23, 2023

Ethylene

In industry, ethylene is synthesized from hydrocarbons like ethane and propane.
The steam cracking of ethane produces ethylene for various chemical products.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 23, 2023

Acetylene

Acetylene is a colorless, flammable gas used for welding and cutting.
Acetylene torches are common tools in metal fabrication workshops.
Janet White
Dec 23, 2023

Ethylene

Ethylene is a gaseous plant hormone that regulates growth and fruit ripening.
Apples release ethylene, which can speed up the ripening of nearby fruits.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 23, 2023

Acetylene

Acetylene, C2H2, is the simplest alkyne with a carbon-carbon triple bond.
Acetylene is used in the synthesis of several organic chemicals.
Huma Saeed
Dec 23, 2023

Ethylene

Ethylene, C2H4, is the simplest alkene used in the chemical industry.
Ethylene is a key raw material in the production of polyethylene plastics.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 23, 2023

Acetylene

Acetylene is a key raw material in the chemical industry for producing synthetic rubber.
Acetylene is used in the production of neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 23, 2023

Ethylene

Ethylene acts as a signaling molecule in plants under stress conditions.
Plants increase ethylene production in response to drought stress.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 23, 2023

Acetylene

Acetylene burns in oxygen with a very high temperature flame.
The intense heat of an acetylene flame makes it ideal for cutting metals.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 23, 2023

Ethylene

A colorless flammable gas, C2H4, derived from natural gas and petroleum and also occurring as a natural plant hormone, used as a source of many organic compounds, in welding and cutting metals, to ripen citrus fruits, and as an anesthetic. Also called ethene.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Acetylene

A colorless, highly flammable or explosive gas, C2H2, used for metal welding and cutting and as an illuminant. Also called ethyne.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Ethylene

(organic compound) The common name for the organic chemical compound ethene. The simplest alkene, a colorless gaseous (at room temperature and pressure) hydrocarbon with the chemical formula C2H4.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Acetylene

Any organic compound having one or more carbon–carbon triple bonds; an alkyne.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Ethylene

(organic chemistry) The divalent radical derived from ethane.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Acetylene

Ethyne; the simplest alkyne, a hydrocarbon of formula HC≡CH. It is a colourless, odorless, extremely flammable, explosive gas, formerly used as an illuminating gas, but now used in welding and metallurgy.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Ethylene

A colorless, gaseous hydrocarbon, C2H4, forming an important ingredient of illuminating gas, and also obtained by the action of concentrated sulphuric acid in alcohol. It is an unsaturated compound and combines directly with chlorine and bromine to form oily liquids (Dutch liquid), - hence called olefiant gas. Called also ethene, elayl, and formerly, bicarbureted hydrogen.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Acetylene

A lamp powered by acetylene, particularly a motor vehicle headlight.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Ethylene

A flammable colorless gaseous alkene; obtained from petroleum and natural gas and used in manufacturing many other chemicals; sometimes used as an anesthetic
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Acetylene

A gaseous compound of carbon and hydrogen, in the proportion of two atoms of the former to two of the latter. It is a colorless gas, with a peculiar, unpleasant odor, and is produced for use as an illuminating gas in a number of ways, but chiefly by the action of water on calcium carbide. Its light is very brilliant.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Acetylene

A colorless flammable gas used chiefly in welding and in organic synthesis
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

FAQs

What are the main uses of ethylene?

In plant growth regulation and plastic manufacturing.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024

What is ethylene?

A colorless gas important in plant growth and industrial plastic production.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024

How is ethylene produced?

Typically through steam cracking of hydrocarbons like ethane.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024

What are the primary uses of acetylene?

For welding, metal cutting, and as a chemical precursor.
Harlon Moss
Jan 11, 2024

What is acetylene?

A colorless, highly flammable gas used in welding and as a fuel.
Huma Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Is acetylene dangerous?

Yes, due to its high flammability and explosive nature.
Harlon Moss
Jan 11, 2024

What industries rely on ethylene?

Plastic, agriculture, and chemical industries.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024

Is ethylene flammable?

Yes, but less so compared to acetylene.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 11, 2024

What safety measures are needed for acetylene?

Proper storage and handling to prevent explosions.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 11, 2024

How is acetylene produced?

By reacting calcium carbide with water.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024

Can ethylene ripen fruits?

Yes, it's used commercially to ripen fruits.
Harlon Moss
Jan 11, 2024

Are there environmental concerns with ethylene?

Less so than acetylene, but its production can impact the environment.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024

Where is acetylene commonly used?

In welding and metalworking industries.
Harlon Moss
Jan 11, 2024

Can ethylene affect plant stress?

Yes, it's involved in stress response in plants.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 11, 2024

What is a unique property of acetylene?

Its ability to produce a high-temperature flame.
Harlon Moss
Jan 11, 2024

How is acetylene stored safely?

In specially designed cylinders to prevent pressure build-up.
Janet White
Jan 11, 2024

Is acetylene used in lighting?

It was historically used in acetylene lamps.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 11, 2024

Is ethylene a hormone?

Yes, in plants, it functions as a hormone.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024

Can acetylene be used for chemical synthesis?

Yes, it's a precursor for many organic chemicals.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 11, 2024

Does ethylene have industrial applications?

Yes, especially in the production of plastics.
Harlon Moss
Jan 11, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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