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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Isobutylene (or 2-methylpropene) is a hydrocarbon of significant industrial importance.

  • It is a four-carbon branched alkene (olefin), one of the four isomers of butylene.

  • At standard temperature and pressure it is a colorless flammable gas.

Process

  • Isobutylene can be isolated from refinery streams by reaction with sulfuric acid, but the most common industrial method for its production is by catalytic dehydrogenation of isobutane.

  • Alkylating isobutylene mixed with normal olefins will result in the production of more heavy alkylate due to isobutylene - n-olefin reactions.

  • There are two principle sources of highly purity isobutylene. One is the decomposition of MTBE to isobutylene and methanol, and the other is the dehydrogeneration of isobutane.

  • Distillation is the another possibility for the production of isobutylene. For this FCC butenes should be partially hydrogeneted to both eliminate most of the butadiene and also isomerize most 1-butene to 2-butene.

  • Isobutylene is the most explored monomer which is polymerized by controlled/living cationic polymerization.

Uses

  • Isobutylene is used as an intermediate in the production of a variety of products. It is reacted with methanol and ethanol manufacture of gasoline oxygenates methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) and ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE), respectively.

  • Isobutylene is also used in the production of methacrolein. Polymerization of isobutylene produces butyl rubber (polyisobutylene).

  • Antioxidants such as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) are produced by Friedel-Crafts alkylation of phenols using isobutylene.

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