Chlorine atoms are important oxidants at dawn in the marine boundary layer where a variety of organics are also present, including alkenes. Using the relative rate technique, the kinetics of the gas phase reactions of atomic chlorine with a series of alkenes, relative to n-heptane as a reference, have been investigated at (298 ± 3) K and 1 atmosphere in either synthetic air or nitrogen. The rate constant for n-heptane, relative to n-butane whose rate constant was taken to be 2.18 × 10−10 cm3 molecule−1 s−1, was also measured and found to be (3.97 ± 0.27) × 10−10 cm3 molecule−1 s−1
(2s). Based on this value for the n-heptane reaction, the following absolute values for the rate constants, k
(in units of 10−10 cm3 molecule−1 s−1) for the chlorine atom reactions were determined: propene, 2.64 ± 0.21; isobutene, 3.40 ± 0.28; 1-butene, 3.38 ± 0.48; cis-2-butene, 3.76 ± 0.84; trans-2-butene, 3.31 ± 0.47; 2-methyl-1-butene, 3.58 ± 0.40; 2-methyl-2-butene, 3.95 ± 0.32; 3-methyl-1-butene, 3.29 ± 0.36; 2-ethyl-1-butene, 3.89 ± 0.41; 1-pentene, 3.97 ± 0.36; 3-methyl-1-pentene, 3.85 ± 0.35; and cis-4-methyl-2-pentene, 4.11 ± 0.55 (±2s). The errors reflect those in our relative rate measurements but do not include the 10% error in the absolute value of the n-butane rate constant upon which these rate constants are ultimately based. A structure–reactivity scheme is presented that assumes that rate constants for addition of chorine atoms to the double bond, as well as that for abstraction of an allylic hydrogen atom, depend upon the degree of alkyl substitution at the double bond and allylic carbons. The surprising result is that the allylic hydrogen atoms react less rapidly with chlorine atoms than the analogous alkyl hydrogens in alkanes. The atmospheric implications for loss of alkenes in the marine boundary layer are discussed.