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16 Uses of Alkynes

Alkynes are unsaturated hydrocarbons in which carbon-carbon triple bond exists between the two carbon atoms. Unsaturated hydrocarbons are hydrocarbons that possess a double or triple covalent bond between neighboring carbon atoms. Traditionally, alkynes are known as acetylenes, formally referred to as ethyne. All hydrocarbons, inclusive of alkynes, are repellant to water but are likely to be more volatile. Alkynes are usually named with the Greek prefix system without adding any letters. For instance, for octyne, one can choose to write either oct-3-yne or 3-octyne when the covalent bond starts at the third carbon. The suffix –yne is used to indicate the presence of a triple bond. This triple bond is what separates alkynes from other hydrocarbons.


1. Rocket Fuel

The overriding alkyne in acetylene is used as a fuel where many kilograms are produced every year by fractional oxidation of natural gases.

2. Making organic compounds

Some of these alkynes are used to make organic compounds such as ethanoic acid, acrylic acid, and ethanol.

3. Organic solvents

Alkynes, for instance, ethyne, are used in the preparation of organic solvents.

4. Polymers

A polymer is a macro-molecule that consists of many repeated subunits. For example, vinyl chloride is used as the preliminary material for PVC.

5. Artificially ripen fruits

Alkynes are used to artificially ripen fruits as a general anesthetic for making poisonous mustard gas.

6. Portable lighting

Acetylene was first used to light portable lamps, which were known as acetylene gas lamps, installed in homes, bicycles and on cars.

7. Welding and cutting

Acetylene is used to weld or cut materials that require high temperatures of 3500 degrees Celsius and among all gases; acetylene is the one capable of producing the hottest flame.

8. Polyethylene plastics

Ethylene is derived from acetylene, which helps in the production of the polyethylene plastics.

9. Chemical production

Acetylene is also used in the production of several inorganic compounds, used in the synthesis of vitamins like vitamin A and E.

10. Manufacturing products in industries

Acetylene, also referred to as ethyne is useful in the manufacturing of products in industries because of its ability to undergo several chemical reactions.

11. Anti-tumor agent

Many alkynes are dangerous for humans when used in pharmaceuticals. However, specific alkynes, known as ene-diynes, hold a very strong and aggressive anti-tumor compound. Calicheamicin is an example of an anti-tumor working agent.

12. Hot flame production

Oxy-acetylene, also known as oxyethyne, a gas produced by mixing ethyne and oxygen, produces hot flames which are used in cutting and welding.

13. Illuminating lamps

Ethyne is used in lighting individual lamps such as hunter’s and miner’s lamp.

14. Production of polypropenonitrile

Propenonitrile polymerizes are used in the company of a peroxide initiator so as to give out a significant synthetic fiber referred to as polypropenonitrile.

15. Production of neoprene

Neoprene is a non-natural rubber that does not burn or get take on by oils.

16. Drug production

Alkynes are used in the manufacture of many drugs on the market, such as antiretroviral efavirenz and the antifungal terbinafine.

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