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Introduction To Organic Chemistry


Thermal Cracking of Alkanes

This is another type of alkane reaction wherein heat is used, unlike its catalytic cracking counterpart (see catalytic cracking below), to break large hydrocarbons to small hydrocarbons. Thermal cracking gives the same products as catalytic cracking: alkenes, alkanes and sometimes hydrogen.

Hydrocarbons are heated at high temperatures (sometimes high pressure as well) until they break apart. Steam- high temperature steam (8160C) is used to break ethane, butane and naphtha into ethene and benzene, which are used to manufacture petrochemicals.

The chemical reaction is as follows:

C10H22(l) C8H18(l) + C2H4(g)