Reactions of Alkanes with Chlorine

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  • Created by: AlinaZ
  • Created on: 02-01-16 17:45

Methane, CH4, reacts with chlorine, Cl2, in the presence of UV light, usually in the form of sunlight, to produce a mixture of chloroalkanes. This is in example of a photochemical reaction. The number of chloroalkanes formed depends on the number of hydrogen atoms substituted in the methane molecule.

Chlorine reacts with methane in a free-radical substitution reaction. This reaction is defined in three steps - initiation, propagation and termination. 


The reaction takes place in light. The UV wavelengths of light provide enough energy to split the chorine molecue into two chlorine atoms.(

This is an example of homolytic fission, which occurs when a covalent bond breaks and each atom recieves one election. The covalent bond between the chlorine molecule and two chlorine radicals are


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