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The number of different substitution products formed when ethane is allowed to react with bromine in sunlight is:
1. 9
2. 6
3. 8
4. 5

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Correct Answer - Option 2 : 6

Concept:

  • Alkanes react with halogens in presence of Ultraviolet light or at temperatures between 520 - 670K.
  • For example, when methane is treated with chlorine in diffused sunlight, a mixture of four different derivatives is obtained.
  • The reaction takes place as follows:
    CH4 + Cl2 → CH3Cl + HCl
    CH3Cl + Cl2 → CH2Cl2 + HCl
    CH2Cl2 + Cl2 → CHCl3 + HCl
    CHCl3 + Cl2 → CCl4 + HCl
  • Similarly, Fluorination and Bromination take place.


Explanation:

  • ​The reaction of bromine with ethane takes place as follows:
    C2H6 + Br2 → C2H5Br + HBr
    C2H5Br + Br2 → C2H4Br2 + HBr
    C2H4Br2 + Br2 → C2H3Br3 + HBr
    C2H3Br3 +  Br2 → C2H2Br4 + HBr
    C2H2Br4 + Br2 → C2HBr5 + HBr
    C2HBr5 + Br2 → C2Br6 + HBr
  • The number of products formed are thus Six.


  • The reaction takes place via a free radical mechanism.
  • The rate of reactivity of alkanes towards halogenation re tertiary > secondary> primary.
  • The reactivity of halogens towards the same alkane is: Fluorination > chlorination > bromination.

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