Alcohols, Phenols and Ethers: Nomenclature of Ethers and Methods of Preparation (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Nomenclature of Ethers

Common names of ethers are arrived by alphabetically naming the two groups attached to the oxygen followed by the word ether. The common names for some ethers are given below:

1. (Ethyl methyl ether)

2. (Diethyl ether)

3.

Nomenclature of Ethers

Methods of Preparation

You have already studied under the reactions of alcohols that ethers can be obtained by the dehydration of alcohols. Ethers can also be prepared by Williamson synthesis which is explained below:

Williamson Synthesis

It involves the reaction of a metal alkoxide with a primary alkyl halide. The metal alkoxide is prepared by adding sodium or potassium metal or sodium hydride to the alcohol.

Metal alkoxide

Metal alkoxide

Properties of Ethers

Since ethers do not have a hydrogen atom linked to the oxygen atom, they cannot form hydrogen bonds amongst their own molecules. Due to the absence of hydrogen bonding, they have lower boiling points as compared to alcohols having similar molecular masses.

Reactions of Ethers

Reaction with Oxygen

Ethers slowly react with oxygen to form hydroperoxides and peroxides. Peroxides have a tendency to explode. Therefore, one should be very careful in handling ethers which may have been stored for some time because they may contain some peroxide.

Reaction with Oxygen

Reaction with Acids

Since the oxygen atom of ethers contains lone pairs of electrons, they can accept a proton from the acids. Thus, ethers are basic in nature.

Reaction with Acids

Acidic Cleavage

Heating diallyl ethers with strong acids such as , or leads to their cleavage.

The alcohol formed further reacts with additional HBr to give bromoethane. Hence,

Kolbe Reaction

It involves sodium phenoxide which is allowed to absorb carbon dioxide and then heated under a pressure of to . Sodium salicylate so obtained on acidification yields salicylic acid.

Kolbe Reaction

Oxidation

Phenols undergo oxidation reactions to give products which are different from those obtained by alcohols. They can be oxidized using a variety of oxidizing agents such as sodium dichromate or silver oxide to give quinones. These days Fremy՚s salt is preferred for oxidation.

Phenols Undergo Oxidation

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