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Acetylene vs. Ethylene: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 21, 2024
Acetylene is a highly flammable gas with a triple bond in its carbon structure (C2H2), while Ethylene is a less flammable gas with a double carbon bond (C2H4).
Acetylene vs. Ethylene

Key Differences

Acetylene (C2H2) contains a triple bond between two carbon atoms, making it highly reactive and flammable. Ethylene (C2H4), with a double bond between its carbon atoms, is less reactive and flammable compared to Acetylene.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024
Acetylene is widely used in welding due to its high flame temperature. Ethylene, on the other hand, is primarily used in the chemical industry, especially in the production of plastics like polyethylene.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024
Acetylene is produced through the reaction of calcium carbide with water. Ethylene is primarily produced by the steam cracking of hydrocarbons like ethane and propane.
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Jan 21, 2024
Acetylene is unstable and can explode under high pressure if not handled properly. Ethylene, being less reactive, is more stable under normal conditions.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024
Acetylene's triple bond makes it a key starting material in various chemical syntheses. Ethylene, due to its double bond, is essential in the ripening of fruits and as a raw material in the chemical industry.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Structure

C2H2, with a triple carbon bond
C2H4, with a double carbon bond
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Shumaila Saeed
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Flammability

Highly flammable
Less flammable
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Primary Use

Welding and metal cutting
Production of plastics and as a plant hormone
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Production Method

Reaction of calcium carbide with water
Steam cracking of hydrocarbons
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Stability

Unstable and explosive under high pressure
More stable and less reactive
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Acetylene and Ethylene Definitions

Acetylene

A colorless gas used for welding.
The welder used acetylene for cutting through the steel plate.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 04, 2024

Ethylene

A colorless flammable gas used in the chemical industry.
Ethylene is a major feedstock for plastic production.
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Jan 04, 2024

Acetylene

A hydrocarbon with a triple bond.
Acetylene's triple bond makes it highly reactive in chemical reactions.
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Jan 04, 2024

Ethylene

A gas used in the production of polyethylene.
Most of the world's ethylene goes into making plastic products.
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Acetylene

A gas used in portable lighting.
Acetylene lamps were common in mining operations.
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Jan 04, 2024
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Ethylene

A gaseous plant hormone that promotes ripening.
Ethylene is used commercially to ripen bananas.
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Acetylene

A key starting material in chemical synthesis.
Acetylene is essential for synthesizing various organic chemicals.
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Ethylene

A hydrocarbon with a double bond.
The double bond in ethylene is key to its chemical reactivity.
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Acetylene

A flammable gas with a distinct odor.
The leak was identified by the smell of acetylene in the air.
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Jan 04, 2024

Ethylene

A natural product of plant metabolism.
Plants release ethylene during stress and ripening processes.
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Acetylene

A colorless, highly flammable or explosive gas, C2H2, used for metal welding and cutting and as an illuminant. Also called ethyne.
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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.
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Acetylene

Any organic compound having one or more carbon–carbon triple bonds; an alkyne.
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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.
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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.
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Ethylene

(organic chemistry) The divalent radical derived from ethane.
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Acetylene

A lamp powered by acetylene, particularly a motor vehicle headlight.
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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.
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Jan 04, 2024

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.
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Ethylene

A flammable colorless gaseous alkene; obtained from petroleum and natural gas and used in manufacturing many other chemicals; sometimes used as an anesthetic
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Acetylene

A colorless flammable gas used chiefly in welding and in organic synthesis
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is Acetylene?

Acetylene is a highly flammable gas, used in welding and as a chemical building block.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

Is Acetylene dangerous?

Yes, due to its flammability and instability under pressure, Acetylene can be dangerous.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

What are the uses of Ethylene?

Ethylene is used in ripening fruits and as a precursor in the production of plastics.
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Jan 21, 2024

How is Acetylene produced?

Acetylene is produced by the reaction of calcium carbide with water.
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Jan 21, 2024

Can Acetylene be stored easily?

Acetylene must be stored in special cylinders to prevent decomposition and explosion.
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Jan 21, 2024

Is Ethylene toxic?

Ethylene is not highly toxic, but it can pose risks in high concentrations.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

What are the uses of Acetylene?

Acetylene is primarily used in welding, metal cutting, and chemical synthesis.
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Jan 21, 2024

What is Ethylene?

Ethylene is a colorless gas used as a plant hormone and in the chemical industry.
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Jan 21, 2024

What safety measures are needed for Acetylene?

Proper ventilation, storage, and handling are crucial due to its flammability.
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Jan 21, 2024

How is Ethylene produced?

Ethylene is mainly produced by the steam cracking of hydrocarbons like ethane.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

Is Acetylene naturally occurring?

Acetylene is not commonly found in nature and is mostly produced industrially.
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Jan 21, 2024

Can Acetylene be used in medicine?

Acetylene has limited uses in medicine, primarily in pharmaceutical research.
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Jan 21, 2024

What is the chemical formula of Acetylene?

The chemical formula of Acetylene is C2H2.
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What industries rely on Ethylene?

The plastic, agricultural, and chemical industries heavily rely on Ethylene.
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How do Acetylene and Ethylene differ in chemical structure?

Acetylene has a triple carbon bond, while Ethylene has a double carbon bond.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

Can Ethylene be used in agriculture?

Yes, Ethylene is used in agriculture to regulate fruit ripening.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

How does Ethylene affect plant growth?

Ethylene regulates various aspects of plant growth, including fruit ripening and leaf fall.
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Is Ethylene a pollutant?

Ethylene can contribute to air pollution, especially in industrial areas.
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What makes Acetylene unique in chemical reactions?

Acetylene's triple bond gives it unique properties in organic synthesis.
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What is the chemical formula of Ethylene?

The chemical formula of Ethylene is C2H4.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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