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Last updated date: 03rd Dec 2023
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MVSAT Dec 2023

How to convert ethane into acetic acid?

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Hint :The primary source of alkanes is petroleum and it’s a complex mixture of organic compounds. Acetic acid is produced industrially both synthetically and by bacterial fermentation. But there are various other methods to form it.

Complete Step By Step Answer:
In first step we can convert ethane into ethyl halide in presence of halogen and sunlight
 $ {C_2}{H_6} + C{l_2}\xrightarrow{{hv}}{C_2}{H_5}Cl + HCl $
In step two we will treat this chloroethane formed in equation first with aqueous sodium hydroxide to obtain ethanol
 $ {C_2}{H_5}Cl + NaOH \to {C_2}{H_5}OH + NaCl $
In step third, we carry out oxidation of alcohol in an acidic medium by adding potassium dichromate.
 $ {C_2}{H_5}OH + {K_2}C{r_2}{O_7}\xrightarrow{{H + }}C{H_3}COOH $

Additional Information:
Most of the organic compounds are alkanes and aromatic compounds. It also contains a small amount of oxygen, nitrogen, and sulphur containing compounds in petroleum. Some of the molecules in petroleum are clearly of biological origin. Most scientists believe that petroleum originates with accumulation of dead microorganisms that settled to the bottom of the sea and that were entombed in sedimentary rock. These microbial remains eventually were transformed into oil by the heat radiating from earth’s core.
Acetic acid is a weak acid whose concentrate form is corrosive to the skin which produces blisters and burns. Prolonged inhalation exposure about eight hours to acetic acid vapours at 10ppm can produce some irritation of eyes, nose and throat. Lung irritation and possible damage to lungs, eyes, skins may result at 100 ppm.

Note :
Most hydrocarbons are found in outer space. Asteroid and comets contain a variety of organic compounds. Methane and other hydrocarbons are found in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus.