Difference Between Diethyl Ether and Petroleum Ether


Although the two names of diethyl ether and petroleum ether sound quite similar, they are entirely different chemical compounds with many industrial applications. The main difference between diethyl ether and structure of petroleum ether is that diethyl ether is a pure organic liquid and p

.

Main Difference – Diethyl Ether vs Petroleum Ether

Although the two names of diethyl ether and petroleum ether sound quite similar, they are entirely different chemical compounds with many industrial applications. The main difference between diethyl ether and structure of petroleum ether is that diethyl ether is a pure organic liquid and petroleum ether is a mixture of hydrocarbons. Diethyl ether is an ether whereas petroleum ether does not contain an ether linkage (-O-). They are both found in liquid form at room temperature with highly volatile properties.

What is Petroleum Ether
Petroleum ether is a clear, colourless, highly flammable, non-fluorescent liquid with a characteristic hydrocarbon odor. It is a mixture of volatile aliphatic hydrocarbons, primarily pentane and isohexane; its boiling point ranges from 30-600C. Its density is lower than the density of water, and it is water insoluble; it floats on water. It is sometimes referred as benzin, benzine, petroleum benzin, canadol, light ligroin, and skellysolve.
In general, ethers have a unique bonding type with an alkoxy linkage R-O-R’. But, structure of petroleum ether does not contain any alkoxy linkages though it is called as petroleum ether.

Difference Between Diethyl Ether and Petroleum Ether
1.Properties
Diethyl ether is a colourless, highly volatile liquid with a sweetish pungent odor. It is slightly soluble in water and less dense than water. Its vapour is heavier than air. Diethyl ether is a relatively polar molecule, and it can form hydrogen bonds with water.
Petroleum ether is a clear, colourless, volatile liquid with the smell of hydrocarbons. It is water insoluble and less dense than water. Hence, it floats on water. Structure of petroleum ether is a non-polar compound. Therefore, it is insoluble in polar solvents.
2.Uses
Diethyl ether is used in industries to make other chemicals and in biomedical research. It is a well-known anesthetic agent and widely used as a solvent. It is commonly used as a solvent for waxes, fats, oils, perfumes, alkaloids, and gums.
Petroleum ether is used as a solvent, fuel, a detergent and as an insecticide. It is a solvent for oils, fats and waxes. It is also used in photography, paints and varnishes.
3.Health Effects
The inhalation of diethyl ether vapour can cause nausea, headache, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. Eye contact may cause irritation and dermal contact with wet clothing can cause burns.
The most common ways of petroleum ether exposure can happen through inhalation and skin contact. Over exposure is harmful, and it brings several health effects to the human body. Severe effects can be caused if it contains a higher concentration of aromatic hydrocarbons. For example, the inhalation affects the central nervous system (CNS) causing headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and incoordination. Skin contact may cause skin allergies, and oral ingestion causes mucous membrane irritation, vomiting, and central nervous system depression.

Comments