Why does fluorination of hydrocarbons with pure F2 gas occur explosively?

Answer : Fluorination of hydrocarbons with pure fluorine gas occurs explosively. This is due to the following reasons:

  1. Due to low bond dissociation energy of F2 molecule (150.6 kJ mol−1).
  2. Due to strong exothermic nature of one of the termination steps.
One of the termination steps of fluorination is strong exothermic

The energy released in the above step is larger than needed to break a C−C bond (447 kj mol−1 released vs 347.3 kJ mol−1 needed) resulting in fission of the molecule.

However, it is possible to carry out direct fluorination of hydrocarbons by diluting F2 with an inert gas such as N2 or Ar.

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