Chemical properties of ethoxyethane

Ethers are quite stable compounds. These are not easily attacked by alkalies, dilute mineral acids, active metals, reducing agents or oxidising agents under ordinary conditions.

(i) Reaction with acids : Being Lewis bases, ethers form complexes with Lewis acids such as BF3, AlCl3, FeCl3, etc. These complexes are called etherates.

Chemical properties of ether

Similarly, diethyl ether reacts with Grignard reagent forming Grignard reagent etherate.

Chemical properties of ether

Due to the formation of the etherate, Grignard reagents dissolve in ether. That is why Grignard reagents are usually prepared in ethers. However, they cannot be prepared in benzene, because benzene has no lone pair of electrons and therefore, cannot form complexes with them.

(ii) Action of hydroiodic acid

(a) With cold HI

C2H5OC2H5 + HI —————→ C2H5I + C2H5OH
Diethyl ether Ethyl iodide Ethyl alcohol

Chemical properties of ether

(b) With hot HI

R – O – R' + 2HI ——————→ RI + R'I + H2O

(iii) Zeisel method : RI + AgNO3 (alc.) → AgI ↓ + RNO3

The silver iodide thus form can be detected and estimated. This is the basis of Zeisel method for the detection and estimation of alkoxy group in a compound.

(iv) Action of PCl5

R – O – R + PCl5 ————→ 2RCl + POCl3. There is no reaction in cold.

(v) Reaction with acetyl chloride

CH3COCl + C2H5 . O . C2H5 ——————→ CH3COOC2H5
Acetylchloride Diethyl ether heat Ethyl acetate

(vi) Reaction with acid anhydride


CH3CO . O . OCCH3 + C2H5 . O . C2H5 —————→ 2CH3COOC2H5

Acetylchloride Diethyl ether heat Ethyl acetate

(vii) Dehydration

C2H5OC2H5 ———————→ 2CH = CH2 + H2O

(viii) Reaction with carbon mono oxide

C2H5OC2H5 + CO ———————→ C2H5COOC2H5
Diethyl ehter 500 atm. Ethyl propionate

(ix) Action of bases

Chemical properties of ether

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