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Fully Deuterated Aliphatic Hydrocarbons Obtained From Iron Carbide Treated with DCl and D2O
Author and Affiliation:
Marquez, C.(Houston Univ., Dept. of Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences, TX United States)
Lazcano, A.(Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Facultad de Ciencias, Mexico City, Mexico)
Miller, S. L.(California Univ., San Diego, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, La Jolla, CA United States)
Oro, J.(Houston Univ., Dept. of Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences, TX United States)
Abstract: According to Oparin, Mendeleev thought that the origin of petroleum was the result of the hydrolysis of iron carbides by superheated steam under pressure from the deep interior of the Earth through geological formations where the metal carbides exist. As early as 1877, Mendeleev described the reaction leading to the synthesis of hydrocarbons according to the general equation 3Fe(sub m)C(sub n) + mH2O yields mFe3O4 + C(sub 3n)H(sub 8m). Other experimental studies on the production of hydrocarbons from cast iron have been reported. Because of the possibility that hydrocarbons may have been trapped within the carbon matrix of the cast iron, which usually has a high content of carbon, we have studied the reaction of pure iron carbide with deuterium chloride and deuterated water. This was done in order to distinguish any newly formed deuterated hydrocarbons from any possible impurities of trapped hydrocarbons. The experiments were carried out by simply allowing iron carbide to react with concentrated deuterium chloride in D2O. The volatile hydrocarbon fraction examined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS), using a Finnigan 1020/OWA instrument. contained low molecular weight hydrocarbons in a range C3 to C7. Lower molecular weight hydrocarbons were not detected by GC/MS because the MS scanning mode was preset above mass 40 to exclude components of air. The identified hydrocarbons are similar to those obtained under prebiotic conditions using high frequency discharge. The hydrocarbons found in common were propane, butane, pentane, 3-methylpentane, hexane, and heptane. The percent yields decline with increasing carbon number (propane 11%, n-heptane 1%). Similar results have been obtained by the direct treatment of metal carbides by pulse laser vaporization mass spectrometry. These results show that the hydrolysis of iron carbides may have been a significant source of hydrocarbons on the primitive Earth. There appears to be a predominance of straight chain isomers, which may have been important in the prebiotic synthesis of membrane-forming compounds.
Publication Date: Jan 01, 1966
Document ID:
(Acquired Jun 27, 1998)
Report/Patent Number: NASA/CR-66-208007, NAS 1.26:208007
Document Type: Reprint
Publication Information: 450-451
Contract/Grant/Task Num: NAGw-2881
Financial Sponsor: NASA; Washington, DC United States
Organization Source: Houston Univ.; Dept. of Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences; TX United States
Description: 2p; In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: No Copyright
Availability Source: Other Sources
Availability Notes: Abstract Only
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