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Ethylene (IUPAC name: ethene) is a hydrocarbon which has the formula C2H4 or H2C=CH2. It is a colorless flammable gas with a faint "sweet and musky" odor when pure.[4] It is the simplest alkene (a hydrocarbon with carbon-carbon double bonds), and the second simplest unsaturated hydrocarbon after acetylene (C2H2).

Ethylene is widely used in the chemical industry, and its worldwide production (over 150 million tonnes in 2016 [5]) exceeds that of any other organic compound.[6][7] Much of this production goes toward polyethylene, a widely used plastic containing polymer chains of ethylene units in various chain lengths. Ethylene is also an important natural plant hormone, used in agriculture to force the ripening of fruits.[8] Ethylene's hydrate is ethyl alcohol.