Author Topic: Ether  (Read 2075 times)

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  • Guest
« on: May 06, 2004, 10:23:00 PM »
I know this question is a very amateur question, but I will risk the flaming for the answer.

When dealing with very volatile solvents like ether, can one safely keep it in a glass bottle with a screw-top lid, does the vapor reach equilibrium or can the pressure build up and break the glass, or the top.  If ether was kept in a glass flask with a calcium guard tube would this be better. Also, would it be better to keep ether in the freezer? ADDkid


  • Guest
im thinking you mean ether as diethylether,...
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2004, 11:02:00 PM »
im thinking you mean ether as diethylether, the most common one used, ether is a term for a functional group, not one individual chemical.

as for diethylether storage (from the msds document for it):

Storage Precautions:
Store in cool place and out of direct sunlight. Store in well ventilated area. Store away from sources of heat or ignition. Store away from oxidizing agents. Store away from acids. Keep containers closed at all times.

Other Storage Info:
Periodically test for peroxide formation on long-term storage. If peroxide formation is suspected, do not move or open container/s. Do not distill or allow to evaporate to near dryness. Opened containers should be purged with nitrogen and resealed.

Boiling Point: 34.5 °C

Vapour Pressure: 442 mm Hg @ 20 °C

The pressure wont build up unless you heat the container.
No to your idea, the container must be sealed.
Freezer? not a bad idea...



  • Guest
Thanks for your input, The Term "ether
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2004, 11:29:00 PM »
Thanks for your input,
The Term "ether", is a term used because the prefix "di" is neglected when naming symmetrical ethers.  It is however not as good as the common name "diethyl ether", but if you really want to be correct the name is ethoxyethane. ADDkid

P.S.  When something is heated pressure does build up, and when something is highly volatile pressure can also accumulate.  So I guess my question should be clearer.

Does ether have a strong enough vapor pressure to cause a glass bottle to explode, or break the top? Example, care must be practice when doing a ether extraction.


  • Guest
True... was only making the correction so i...
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2004, 11:35:00 PM »
True... was only making the correction so i could look up the VP and BP.


  • Guest
>Freezer? not a bad idea...
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2004, 02:12:00 AM »

>Freezer? not a bad idea...

Freezer is a *very* bad idea. You will have ether fumes in your freezer, and a sparkling motor nearby. It's not a question if your freezer will explode, only when.


  • Guest
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2004, 04:09:00 AM »
Ether is normally stored in dark glass bottles with a screw cap lid. The bottles must be kept away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

If you buy ether it will come in a glass bottle.

If you distill ether from starter fluid, this process will remove any stabilizer that is present, therefore making the ether liable to peroxidization. Peroxides of Diethyl ether are explosive shock/friction sensitive. If distilling starting fluid, it is best not to keep the result for a long time no matter what sort of bottle you are putting it in. Using a guard tube rather than a screw cap is just asking for trouble as it will leave the ether exposed to atmospheric oxygen (which oxidizes the ether and forms the peroxides).

Ether should be used away from all sources of ignition and that includes sparks which are present in all fridges and freezers apart from those specifically designed to cope with volatile, inflammble, explosive solvents.


  • Guest
freezer = bad
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2004, 04:57:00 AM »


  • Guest
Ether will not solidify in the freezer.
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2004, 05:04:00 AM »
Ether will not solidify in the freezer.
The expansion of water while it freezes is a rare exception. Nearly all other substances contract during solidification.


  • Guest
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2004, 05:09:00 AM »
a foaf always stores his ethereal solutions in a freezer.
it never happened that the glass broke or that the thing
exploded. (glass only breaks when filled with water, since
it is one of the few substances that expand on cooling and
ofcourse _all_ solutions should be tightly closed, so no risk
of fumes either)

as for storage: as long as it's tightly closed, no problem
in a cool (<=25°C) place. of course there is some pressure
build up, but with increased pressure boiling point does
increase too. don't use a normal glass stopper without
clamp though, or you know what happened when it makes
"popp..........................clank"  ;D


  • Guest
swim stands corrected
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2004, 05:12:00 AM »
swim stands corrected


  • Guest
storing ether exposed to O2 is dangerous...
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2004, 10:53:00 AM »
i know some will have different opinions as did i before this incident....

on many occasions i let diethyl set about in the freezer, with nary a problem......

but i know from real meatspace experience that an aldrich anhydrous diethyl tin opened one time only and stored in a freezer for about 4 weeks blew the fukn freezer totally up!!!!

lost a fair amount of product being rextalled to boot!!!

from my experience it will destabilize......
it is purely a matter of time/luck?....

produce/open only what you can actually consume in a short period of time is the best course of action...

or use another less volatile solvent possibly......



  • Guest
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2004, 01:12:00 PM »
some are made for storing chemicals.  (explosion proof)

still, it's a good idea to close the bottle/container tightly and wrap the opening with parafilm.  (stretchy wax film that can be bought several places on the internet- and no, nobody cares if you purchase this stuff.  it's used for the same type of purpose in biological studies all the time)

I've never seen diethyl ether sold in a glass bottle.  It's always been in an aluminum can with a plastic screw cap.  the bottom has a depression that will pop out if too much pressure is building up.  As long as you're storing ether at RT or below, pressure in the container shouldn't be a problem.


  • Guest
Yes, you are right, I have only seen it store...
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2004, 09:23:00 PM »
Yes, you are right, I have only seen it store in a Al container, I would think that a toluene or acetone container should be fine, Peroxide can be check wit jones reagent, and they can be removed easily with Ag/NaOH solution. ADDkid


  • Guest
depends where you buy it
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2004, 08:01:00 AM »
Whether ether comes in a glass bottle or an aluminium can will depend upon where you are buying it from. In some countries glass bottles are the norm.


  • Guest
Adding some copper wire will prevent any ...
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2004, 08:23:00 AM »
Adding some copper wire will prevent any peroxide formation - it will not destroy already formed peroxides.
So storing ether exposed to air isnt so good an idea anyways, but some copperwire will stabilize it well.


  • Guest
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2004, 07:09:00 AM »
A tiny ammount of the food preservative BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) can also be used to stabilize ether.


  • Guest
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2004, 10:48:00 PM »
It's a damn strong reducing agent.
Actually, I bet they use it to dry the ether too, as it will destroy any water it touches as well.

But if you have CaH2, you should make some alkoxides with it.

Organikum: How about aluminum strips, given that it is a better reducing agent? Or is this one of the reasons they keep ether in an aluminum bottle in the first place?


  • Guest
Steel drum
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2004, 10:50:00 PM »
I have seen Ether in plain old 20 litre S/S drums.


  • Guest
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2004, 11:05:00 AM »
Store them over hydroxides. Dry them with Na/K.


  • Guest
My freezer remains intact
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2004, 04:23:00 PM »
Swim here has always obtained ether (diethyl of course) in a glass 4 liter bottle and has always kept it in the freezer.  If anyone has had any explosion happen this way it was because their container was not sealed properly.
  I've actually never seen diethyl ether come in a metal container as apparently other people here have.  I've had lots of solvents supplied in metal containers with their notoriously hard to seal screw caps but ether?  That's just nuts.
  Transfer it to a good glass jug and just be aware of the dangers of distilling to dryness due to the possibility of accumulation of the unstable oxides that can form.
  Although I've never had to do it myself, but accordinng to Merck they should be fairly easily removed by shaking with Ferrous Sulfate (if I remember correctly).