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Panel: Neeraja Erraguntla
Media: Sarah Jane Scruggs

About Olefins

Olefins are a class of chemicals that includes ethylene, propylene, and  1,3-butadiene.


Ethylene, also known as ethene, is an industrial petrochemical and natural product. Ethylene is a basic building block for the chemistry industry and is the largest volume organic chemical produced in the U.S. and globally. Ethylene is produced commercially from petroleum and natural gas feedstocks in high temperature furnaces by thermal cracking. Ethylene occurs naturally in the environment and is produced by plants of all types. Ethylene is created by forest fires, cigarette smoke and incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Ethylene is also a natural plant hormone.


Propylene, also known as propene or methyl ethylene, is a colorless liquefied gas with a faint petroleum odor. Propylene has a double bong which gives it a combustion advantage (or burns hotter)This fuel gas .is extremely flammable and non-toxic.. Propylene is a byproduct of petroleum refining and natural gas processing. It is the second most important starting product, second to ethylene, in the petrochemical industry. It is an important building block chemical used for the production of propylene oxide, acrylonitrile, cumene, butraldehyde, and acrylic acid.

1, 3-butadiene

1, 3-butadiene, also known as butadiene, is a colorless, non-corrosive gas that condenses to a liquid at minus 4.5 degrees centigrade and has a mild aromatic odor. Butadiene is produced commercially by extractive distillation from crude butylene concentration (C4) stream, a by-product of ethylene and propylene production.

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