Methyl radicals radiolytically produced in aqueous solutions react efficiently with Cr0, Mn0, Fe0, Ni 0, Cu0 and Zn0 powders immersed in the solution. The Cr0, Mn0, Fe0, Ni0 and Zn0 powders reduce the radicals to form methane. On the other hand the Cu0 powder seems to oxidize the radicals. Surprisingly a part of the energy absorbed by the Cr0, Fe0, Ni 0 and Zn0 powders is transferred to the aqueous solution, thus increasing the radical yield. CH4, C2H4, C2H6, C3H6 and C3H 8 are formed when an aqueous deaerated buffer solution, pH 4-5, is added to powders of analytical iron, zinc, manganese and chromium. The source of these gases is carbon traces present, as atoms or atom clusters, in the "analytical" metal powders. These carbon atoms, when present on the surface of the metals, are reduced by the metal particles in aqueous solutions. This mechanism might be the source of light alkanes and alkenes in the prebiotic era.
- Energy transfer