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Ether Chemistry
by Erowid



NAMEDiethyl Ether
CHEMICAL NAMEDiethyl Ether
ALTERNATE CHEMICAL NAMESethoxyethane, ether, diethyl ether, ethyl oxide, diethyl oxide, sulfuric ether
CHEMICAL FORMULAC4H10O
MOLECULAR WEIGHT74.12
MELTING POINT-116.3 - -123.3C
BOILING POINTbp760 34.6C, bp400 17.9C, bp200 +2.2C, bp100 -11.5C, bp10 -48.1C, bp1 -74.3C
SOLUBILITY Ether is slightly soluble in water and water is slightly soluble in ether. A saturated water solution contains 8.43% (w/w) of ether at 15degrees and 6.05% (w/w) at 25degrees. Ether saturated with water contains 1.2% H20 at 20degrees. Solubility in water increased by HCl. Soluble in concentrated hydrochloric acid. Miscible with lower aliphatic alcohols, benzene, chloroform, petroleum ether, other fat solvents, many oils. Azeotrope with water (1.3%), bp 34.2degrees.
When shaken under absolute dry conditions, ether can generate enough static electricity to start a fire.
From the Merck Index 12th Edition



MERCK INDEX ENTRY
3852. Ethyl Ether. 1.1'-Oxybisethane; ethoxyethane; ether; diethyl ether; ethyl oxide; diethyl oxide; sulfuric ether; anaesthetic ether. C4H10O, mol wt 74.12. C 64.82%, H 13.60%. 0 2 1.58%. C2H5OC2H5. Produced on a large scale by dehydration of ethanol or by hydration of ethylene, both processes being carried out in the presence of sulfuric acid. Review of mfg processes: Himmler in Ullmann's Encyklopadie der Technischen Chemie. vol. 5 (1954) pp 777-782; D. E. Keeley in Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology vol. 9 (Wiley-Interscience, New York, 3rd ed., 1980) pp 381-393.

Mobile, very volatile, highly flammable liq. Explosive! Vapor heavier than air. Characteristic, sweetish, pungent odor, more agreeable than chloroform. Burning taste. Tends to form explosive peroxides under the influence of air and light, esp when evaporation to dryness is attempted. Peroxides may be removed from ether by shaking with 5% aq ferrous sulfate soh. Addition of naphthols, polyphenols, aromatic amines, and aminophenols has been proposed for the stabilization of ethyl ether. dt 0.7364; dl0 0.7249; df 0.7134; dp 0.7019. Vapor density 2.55 (air = 1.0). mp - 116.3 (stable crystals); mp - 123.3 (metastable crystals). bp760 34.6C, bp400 17.9C, bp200 +2.2C, bp100 -11.5C. bp10 -48.1C, bp1 -74.3C Satd vapor press. at 0 : 184.9 mm, at 10C: 290.8 mm; at 20C: 439.8 mm; at 50C: 1276 mm; at 70C: 2304 mm. Critical temp 192.7, cnt press. 35.6 atm. Flash pt, closed cup: -49F (-45C). Air-ether mixtures contaming more than 1.85 volume-% of ether vapor, are explosive hazards. Autoignition temp 180-190C. n15d 1.35555. Dielectric constant at 26.9C and 85.8 kilocycles = 4.197; good insulator. When shaken under absolutely dry conditions ether can generate enough static electricity to start a fire. Surface tension at 20C: 17.06 dyneslcm. Viscosity at 20C 0.2448 cp. Heat of vaporization at 30C: 89.80 callg. Produces considerable coldness on quick evaporation. Heat of formation -907 callg; heat of combustion -8.807 kcallg. Ether is slightly sol in water and water is slightly sol in ether. A satd water soh contains 8.43% (wlw) of ether at 1Y and 6.05% (wlw) at 2Y. Ether satd with water contains 1.2% H,0 at 20C. Soly in water increased by HCl. Sol in coned hydrochloric acid. May explode when brought in contact with anhydr nitric acid. Miscible with lower aliphatic alcohols, benzene, chloroform, petr ether, other fat solvents, many oils. Azeotrope with water (1.3%), bp 34.2C.

Caution: Potential symptoms of overexposure are dimness; drowsiness; headache, excitedness and narcosis; nausea, vomiting; irritation of eyes, upper respiratory system and skin. See NZOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (DHHSINIOSH 90-1 17, 1990) p 112.

USE: Solvent for waxes, fats, oils, perfumes, alkaloids, gums. Excellent solvent for nitrocellulose when mixed with ale. Important reagent in organic syntheses, esp in Gngnard and Wurtz type reactions. Easily removable extractant of active principles (hormones, etc.) from plant and animal tissues. In the manuf of gun powder. As primer for gasoline engines.

THERAP CAT: Anesthetic (inhalation).
THERAP CAT (VET): Anesthetic (inhalation). Has been used orally in colic, subcutaneously as a stimulant.