Demonstration and verification of ethylene

Chemicals needed

distilled water

ethanol GSLEICHT.gif (932 Byte) F    R 11    S (2)-7-1

or alcohol

potassium permanganate solution, diluted

sodium carbonate (or hydrate) GSGESUND.gif (476 Byte) Xi   R 36    S (2)-22-26

sulphuric acid 96%  GSATZEND.gif (935 Byte) C    R 35   S (1/2)-26-30-45

Dangerous substance information

ethene GSLEICHT.gif (932 Byte) F+    R 12    S (2)-9-16-33

Equipment needed

2 test tubes
rubber plug with hole and gas inlet tube
stand with 2 double sleeves and 2 clamps
burner (preferably alcohol)

Test procedure



As in the case of Demonstration of diethyl ether water is extracted from ethanol with the help of concentrated sulphuric acid, however from one molecule of ethanol one molecule of water.

CH3CH2OH --> CH2=CH2 + H2O

With the potassium permanganate solution formal hydrogen peroxide is attached to the ethylene, manganese(VI) is hereby reduced to manganese(IV).

3 CH2=CH2 + 2 MnO4- + 4 H2O --> 3 HOCH2CH2OH + 2 MnO2 + 2 OH -


DSCN0366.JPG (218569 Byte)

Apparatus before test procedure, for gas formation a rather dirtied glass was used, as tar is produced in any case.

DSCN0367.JPG (221286 Byte)

Apparatus after the test procedure


Derived from experiment 250, "Darstellung von Ethen (Ethylen) aus Ethanol(Ethylalkohol)", p. 152, [1]