Chemical symbol:         C2H4
Shipping name: Ethylene, Compressed / Ethylene, Refrigerated Liquid
Classification: Flammable Gas
UN Number: UN 1962 (for compressed gas)

  U.S. Units     SI Units   
Chemical formula:  C2H4 C2H4
Molecular weight:  28.05 28.05
Specific gravity of gas:  0.978 0.978
Triple point: -272.47oF -169.15oF





Ethylene is a colourless, flammable gas with a faint odour that is sweet and musty. it is nontoxic and has been used as an anaesthetic. The hazardous properties of ethylene are it flammable and its potential to cause asphyxia by displacement of air with the resultant lowering of the oxygen content below that necessary to support life.

Chemically, ethylene reacts chiefly be addition to give saturated paraffins or derivatives of paraffin of hydrocarbons. Ethylene is widely used as a raw material in the synthetic, organic chemical industry. It is shipped as a gas at about 1,250 pslg. Below 50oF (10.0oC), it is a liquefied gas in the cylinder.



Ethylene finds use in the manufacture of ethyl benzene, ethanol, ethylene oxide, ethylene glycol, and ethylene dichloride. About half the ethylene produced in the United States is used for the production of high- and low-density polyethylene raw materials made with ethylene; including ethyl chloride, dichloride ethane, vinyl chloride, ethyl ether, methyl acrylate, and stylene. Ethylene is also used as a refrigerant and fuel for metal cutting and wielding, and it has been used for anaesthesia. It is also used to accelerate plant growth and fruit reaping.



When used for anaesthesia, ethylene is a non-toxic gas found pleasant and nonirritating by patients. Prolonged inhalation of substantial concentration results in unconsciousness; light and moderate anaesthesia is attained, and deep anaesthesia occurs.



Ethylene poses hazards to personnel through its flammability, and the precautions necessary for the safe handling of any flammable gas must be observed. In its use, it is important that ignition sources be kept away from containers in situation in which leakage could cause the gas to be ignited by such sources as a spark from motor. All piping equipment used with ethylene should be grounded.

Ethylene should not be stored with cylinders containing oxygen, chloride, or other oxidising or combustible materials.



Disposal of ethylene, and other gages should be undertaken only by personnel familiar with the gas and the procedures for disposal. Contact the supplier for instructions.



To detect leaks from containers, connections, or piping, use a soapy water solution. Leaks will be indicated by the formation of bubbles. Alternative means of detection involve the use of instructional methods. Never use a flame for leak detection.

All sources of ignition should be eliminated at once.



Ethylene is authorized for shipment in cylinders under the DOT and TC regulations. It is also shipped in bulk quantities under DOT exemptions.



The maximum filling limits prescribed for ethylene in cylinders are as follows (percent water capacity by weight): for cylinders of 1800 psig (1 2,110 kPa) maximum service pressure, 31%; for cylinders of 2000 psig maximum service pressure, 32.5%; and for cylinders of 2400 psig (16,550 kPa) maximum service pressure, 35.5%.



The most common method of producing ethylene commercial is the high-temperature coil.