It is called ethylene yet gas that is used for metal welding. It is a colorless chemical compound that is characterized by its high flammability.

According to etymology, the concept of ethylene is formed with the term ethyl and the suffix -No. While an ethyl is a ethane radical, the ending -no refers to hydrogen carbides.


Ethylene is used for the production of polyethylene and other plastics.

What is ethylene

Ethylene is formed with four atoms of hydrogen and two carbon atoms, the latter linked together through a double bond. Its use in the industrial field is very widespread since it has multiple uses.

Obtaining ethylene, which is also called ethene, is done by cracking. This technique, known in English as cracking, consists of appealing to an increase in temperature and, sometimes, to catalysts to cause the breakdown of the molecules of certain hydrocarbons.

It should be remembered, at this point, that ethylene comes from ethyl, the radical of ethane. Ethane, in turn, is a hydrocarbon which is made up of six hydrogen atoms and two carbon atoms.

Uses of the compound

The most common use of ethylene is linked to the production of polyethylene, styrene and others polymers. In this way we find ethylene derivatives in many products of daily use, such as various plastics and solvents.

Ethylene also serves to welding and cutting metals and is used as refrigerant. In the field of farming, is used as a stimulant of plant growth and to control the ripening of certain fruits.

Ethylene oxide, meanwhile, is used to develop tasks of sterilization and fumigation. However, this substance can cause damage to the DNA and provoke CancerTherefore, it should only be used in reduced quantities and under strict controls.


Ethylene accelerates the ripening of bananas and other fruits.

Ethylene in biology

It is important to mention that ethylene is also a hormone synthesized by plants. It occurs naturally and is involved in numerous processes of plant development.

Many of the plant responses are stimulated by ethylene, such as fruit ripening and the secretion of latex. Ethylene is also involved in defining the aroma and color of the fruits.

It can be said that ethylene is one of the great responsible for the growth and subsistence of flora. This hormone is responsible for inducing seed germination and promotes senescence of the flowers and the leaves, for instance.

Climacteric and non-climacteric fruits

The climacteric fruits they are those that, in response to ethylene, mature. The banana (plantain, banana or banana), the pear, the plum and the Apple They are among these fruits, which reach their maximum point in the generation of ethylene in the moment prior to the increase in respiration that occurs in the ripening phase.

The non-climacteric fruits as the watermelon, the Cherry and the grapeOn the other hand, they do not produce ethylene or increase their respiration in the pre-ripening stage. That is why they no longer continue to mature when separated from the plant.

Since the ethylene released by climacteric fruits reaches the surrounding fruits, the gas accelerates the decomposition of these. Ethylene, thus, generates millions of dollars in industrial losses.