Chlorine free radicals
Step 2: Propagation
In the second step, chlorine free radicals attack methane molecules and break down the bond to generate methyl radicals as:
These methyl radicals react with other chlorine free radicals to form methyl chloride along with the liberation of a chlorine free radical.
Hence, methyl free radicals and chlorine free radicals set up a chain reaction. While and are the major products formed, other higher halogenated compounds are also formed as:
Step 3: Termination:
Formation of ethane is a result of the termination of chain reactions taking place as a result of the consumption of reactants as:
Hence, by this process, ethane is obtained as a by - product of chlorination of methane.