Letter | Published:

Production of High Molecular Weight Products from the Irradiation of Methane with 4-MeV. Electrons

Naturevolume 192pages11781179 (1961) | Download Citation



THE effects of ionizing radiations on gaseous methane have been examined previously and the yields of hydrogen and of higher hydrocarbons up to pentane determined to within what appear to be small limits of error1,2. Hydrogen is the major product, while the amounts of gaseous hydrocarbons are much less and decrease rapidly with increase in molecular weight. However, there is a 10–30 per cent excess of elemental hydrogen in the products1–3. In fact, a large excess of hydrogen seems to be a common feature of the radiation chemistry of gaseous hydrocarbons, though not of liquids4–6. It has been known for some time that massive radiation doses lead to the production of liquid products from low-molecular-weight saturated hydrocarbons7–9, while more recently a more detailed study of liquid product formation from methane and other gaseous hydrocarbons has been reported10,11. The nature of the liquid products and their significance in the overall radiolytic process have not been examined.

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  1. Wantage Research Laboratory, Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Wantage, Berks

    • R. W. HUMMEL


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