Demonstration of diethyl ether

Chemicals needed

ice or snow
ethanol GSLEICHT.gif (932 Byte) F    R 11    S (2)-7-16

or denatured alcohol
sulphuric acid 96 %  GSATZEND.gif (935 Byte) C    R 35   S (1/2)-26-30-45

Hazardous substances

diethyl ether  GSLEICHT.gif (932 Byte) F+      R 12-19-22-66-67     S (2)-9-16-29-33

Equipment necessary

2 test tubes (1 normal, 1 small)
rubber stopper with hole and discharge tube
stand with double sleeve and clamp
beaker (or the like)
burner (preferably alcohol-)

Test procedure



The dehydrating and acidic effects of the concentrated sulphuric acid promote the seperation of water from alcohol. At medium temperatures (130C) one molecule of ether thereby results, primarily out of two molecules of alcohol, at higher temperatures (170C) one molecule of ethylene results out of one molecule of alcohol.

2 CH3CH2OH --> CH3CH2OCH2CH3 + H2O


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Experimental apparatus before distillation.

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Experimental apparatus after the termination of distillation.


A traditional experiment. Mentioned in many older textbooks.

z.B [2]