Ether forming Peroxides (Auto oxidation)

Reaction of ethers with atmospheric Oxygen

Ethers form peroxides by the action of atmospheric oxygen or ozonised oxygen due to co-ordination of one lone pair of the ethereal oxygen with another oxygen atom

For example,

C2H5O2H5 + O ------------> (C2H5)2O (diethyl ether Peroxide)---> O

These peroxides are unstable compounds and decomposes violently on heating. Hence, ethers should never be evaporated to dryness. it is essential to remove the peroxides by washing before distilling the ether. This can be done by washing the ether with a solution of ferrous sulphate.

For Chemical properties of ethers visit

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