I was reading about 2 specific reactions: polymerisation of alkene and aromatization of alkane (of a sufficient size).

I thought why can't, having a condition that favored both these reactions be created, there exist a chain reaction where an alkene starts polymerizing and when the chain becomes long enough, it aromatizes.

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It's just a thought that I had but I can't figure out if it IS possible.

  • $\begingroup$ In incomplete combustion things like that happen all the time, but wording of your question makes it somewhat unclear / too broad. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jun 29 '20 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron Yes I felt too while typing it that it could be too broad. But I felt narrowing it down more could contradict this idea if I narrowed it down too far. I wanted to know if an ideal case is possible where a significant amount of an aromatic compound is generated this way? And what conditions would it require? $\endgroup$ – Vamsi Krishna Jun 29 '20 at 18:55

Your thought is actually happening in real life. Petrolium industry uses the same concept except for polymerizing ethene (may be that also used to get higher alkanes). Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) is one of the most important conversion processes used in petroleum refineries. FCC (see the schematic diagram below)) is widely used to convert the high-boiling, high-molecular weight hydrocarbon fractions of petroleum crude oils into more valuable gasoline, olefinic gases, and other products such as aromatics (Ref.1):

Fluid Catalytic Cracking

For example, a conversion reactor is used to carry out several reactions. A few of them are:

$$\ce{n-C26H54 -> C6H12 + C6H14 + C10H20 + C4H10}\tag1$$ $$\ce{C10H20 -> C6H12 + i-C4H8}\tag2$$ $$\ce{C6H12 + 3 i-C4H8 -> 3C4H10 + C6H6}\tag3$$

The equation $(1)$ (cracking reaction of paraffin) shows the formation of cyclohexane from a long-chain paraffin. The equation $(3)$ (hydrogen transfer reaction between cyclohexane and isobutene) shows the conversion of cyclohexane to benzene.


  1. A. Kayode Coker, In Petroleum Refining Design and Applications Handbook, Volume 1; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2018 (ISBN: 978-1-118-23369-6).

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