Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon, the main use of which is in activities where combustion is necessary. It is used to generate electrical energy.
It is the raw material when producing methanol, hydrogen, acetylic acid or anhydrous acetic acid in the chemical industry. It is a compound of carbon and hydrogen. The carbon atom is in union with the hydrogen atoms by a covalent bond.
Within the alkanes, it is the first member. While em is liquid, methane is not combustible. It is a non-polar, flammable, odorless and colorless substance and much lighter than air. Its boiling point can reach -161.5 degrees Celsius and its melting point is -182.5 degrees Celsius. At ordinary pressures and temperatures, it is in the form of a gas.
Methane is obtained through the hydrogenation of carbon or carbon dioxide, when sodium ethanoate is heated with an alkali and by the action of carbide with water. It is found in coal mines, naturally, after plants have undergone anaerobic putrefaction and following the decomposition of organic matter in swamps and is also found
uses of methane
- It is used to make synthetics in the chemical industry.
- It is used as fuel in steam generators and for gas turbines.
- Methane is used as a well-known natural gas, used as fuel for cooking and heating.
- In the industrial sector, it is used for chemical processes and it is possible to transport it as a refrigerated liquid.
- It has been used in recent years as an alternative energy source on a small scale, being generated from organic agricultural residues, obtaining very positive results.
- There are other less important products derived from methane, these are: carbon tetrachloride, chloromethane, chloroform and dichloromethane.
Health effects of methane
Methane is not toxic.
- When ignited, it can cause burns, so this would be the main health hazard it can pose.
- With air it is capable of forming highly explosive mixtures and is also quite flammable.
- With strongly oxidized agents, this substance reacts violently, as with some halogen compounds.
- It is not dangerous to be inhaled in small amounts, but when a large amount of natural gas or methane is released into the air, a person can suffocate from lack of air.
- Companies that are dedicated to generating natural gas add a substance that allows the smell to be noticeable as a safety measure to prevent its leakage.
- It is important to know that if there is a gas leak, people should not lose their calm, if a buzzing noise is heard due to the rupture of the pipe through which the substance is transported, no type of flame must be lit to avoid explosions.
Effects of methane on the environment
The cleanest fossil fuel is natural gas. It brings many benefits to the environment because, unlike any other fossil fuel or hydrocarbon such as refined gasoline or coal, it is able to generate more light and heat energy per mass. This means that if a lot more natural gas is used instead of gasoline for vehicles, coal and to generate electricity, there will be fewer greenhouse gas emissions and smog pollutants in the environment.
But, if this substance is released into the atmosphere before burning, it is very harmful to the environment, as it contributes to climate change because it can retain heat in the atmosphere.
It is important for human activities to reduce methane emissions that contribute to the emission of methane into the atmosphere, even though there are many natural processes in the soil and also various chemical reactions in the atmosphere that facilitate the release of methane into the atmosphere. elimination of the substance in this gaseous layer.
An example of how humanity could contribute is to develop processes that serve to capture this substance for use as fuel, so that it is released into the atmosphere.
Electron configuration of methane
Because it is composed of hydrogen and carbon, the molecular formula of methane is CH4. Its Electron configuration corresponds to 1s2 2s2 2p2. This substance has a total of four covalent bonds.