Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 1997, 62, 1057-1069

Pyrolysis of Hexadecane

Elena Barteková and Martin Bajus

Department of Petroleum Technology and Petrochemistry, Slovak Technical University, 812 37 Bratislava, Slovak Republic


The kinetics of thermal decomposition of hexadecane was studied in a flow tubular reactor from stainless steel. The experiments were performed in the temperature range of 700 to 780 °C for the mass ratio of steam to hydrocarbon 3 : 1. The hexadecane pyrolysis took place according to the first-order reaction with a frequency factor of 3.5 . 109 s-1 and an activation energy of 162 kJ mol-1. In the pyrolysis products there were above all 1-alkenes. From alkanes, methane and ethane and less propane were formed in a higher degree. The prevailing compounds are ethene and propene whose amount increases with increasing temperature and residence time. The content of 1-alkenes higher than 1-pentene decreases with increasing conversion which gives evidence of their decomposition owing to their lower stability in comparison with the lighter 1-alkenes. The formation of dienes (1,3-butadiene and propadiene) and benzene also confirmed the course of secondary reactions. The observed higher formation of hydrogen results from the reaction of steam with coke deposited on the walls of the reactor or with hydrocarbon radicals. The evidence of the coke formation is given also by the presence of carbon oxides whose amount grew with the pyrolysis severity. The high content of 1-hexene in comparison with the other higher 1-alkenes is probably caused by the isomerization of alkyl radicals by 1,5-hydrogen transfer.

Keywords: Hexadecane pyrolysis; Kinetics; Alkenes.