Abstract The results obtained in the plasmolysis of ethylene and acetylene in an inductively coupled radiofrequency glow discharge are reported. A static system at a constant initial pressure of 0.5 torr and input power of 50 W was used; the gaseous and polymeric products were evaluated and compared with previous data on ethane plasmolysis and other available literature data. The decomposition products of ethylene were similar to those obtained during the plasmolysis of ethane, with a different distribution and a smaller initial increase of the total pressure. The total pressure of acetylene quickly decreased to near zero value at small specific energy, due to rapid polymerization. No gaseous products were detected, except hydrogen and traces of diacetylene.