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GCSE Organic Chemistry - Alkenes with Steam

simont 16 2.3k 4 United Kingdom
17 Dec 2016 5:32PM
Iím hoping that you good people of Ephotozine world can come to my sons help.

Heís got his mock GCSE Chemistry exam coming up in the New Year and is working through some past papers and is stuck on one question which Iím hoping someone can answer.

The topic is Alkenes with steam.

When they react with steam, the conditions are

1. Phosphoric(V) Acid Catalyst
2. A temperature of 300oC
3. A pressure of 60-70 atm

Heís stuck on the next part:

C2H4 + O2 = Ethanol (CH3CH2OH)

The product is an --------------?

They react with themselves to make -------- --------?


thewilliam 12 6.1k
17 Dec 2016 6:25PM
Ethanol is an alcohol and, together with water, a principal ingredient of vodka.

Are you sure that you've given the correct equation? You should always have the same number of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms on each side. Steam contains two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen so that should appear on the LHS of the equation along with the ethylene to make the equation balance.
Fma7 5 1.1k United Kingdom
17 Dec 2016 6:32PM
This might help

and this
simont 16 2.3k 4 United Kingdom
17 Dec 2016 7:03PM
Sorry, wrote it down wrong, it should have been H2O(g) rather than O2!
Thanks, Fma7, I will look at these links!
JJGEE 16 7.9k 18 England
17 Dec 2016 7:24PM
Sorry, no idea of the answer but it takes me back to O Level Chemistry in 1971 !
Fma7 5 1.1k United Kingdom
17 Dec 2016 7:52PM

Quote:Sorry, no idea of the answer but it takes me back to O Level Chemistry in 1971 !

Would have been alchemy back then Tongue

I know because I did O Level Magic around then.
peterkin 17 673 England
17 Dec 2016 9:08PM
C2H4 + H2O → C2H5OH

This is an industrial process called the hydration of ethene to produce ethanol. The reaction is Ethene (the alkene) + water (as steam) using a Phosphoric acid catalyst (to speed up the reaction) to produce Ethanol (an alcohol). Ethanol may also be made by fermentation.

Have a look at GCSE Bitesize Chemistry here...

GCSE Bitesize Chemistry

I wish your Son the best of luck with his studies.

thewilliam 12 6.1k
17 Dec 2016 11:28PM
When I took my A level chemistry back in 1969, C2H4 was known as ethylene.
DaveRyder Plus
6 4.9k 7 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2016 5:43AM
For the last part alkene react with themselves to form polymers

Polyethylene, polypropylene etc.

Good luck to your son. Chemistry isnt always an easy option but is a fascinating subjuct.
simont 16 2.3k 4 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2016 3:01PM
Thanks everyone for your answers.

He's muttering something about Alkenes, double bonds.

He wants to do all 3 sciences at A Level and though Chemistry is his favorite, he finds it most challenging.

Thanks again everyone.


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