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Introduction To Organic Chemistry


Chlorination of Alkanes

Chlorination of alkanes, which is similar to bromination of alkanes (see bromination below), is the replacement of hydrogen atom(s) by a chlorine atom. Chlorination is a photochemical reaction, that is ultra-violet light (sunlight will do ) is needed for the reaction to occur as well as room temperature.

Please note the way in which the chlorine atom replaces the hydrogen atom of propane. Note: if it was bromination it would be the bromine atom replacing the hydrogen atom of the chlorine atom.

Figure 1.

Below is an example of how methane is chlorinated. Please note that in each step the chlorine atom is replacing each hydrogen atom, until all is replaced.

Figure 2.