Ethers are the family of organic compounds by the general formula, CnH2n +2O. They are isomeric by the aliphatic monohydric alcohols with the general formula CnH2n+1OH. Epoxides are formed whenever an oxygen atom is associated to carbon atoms of a carbon chain making a three membered ring.
Structures of Ethers:
Ethers acquire the structure: R-O-R'. R and R' might be aliphatic or aromatic.
CH3 - O - CH3
Methoxymethane (Dimethyl ether)
CH3 - O - CH2CH3
Methoxy ethane (Ethyl methyl ether)
Symmetrical and Unsymmetrical Ethers:
Symmetrical ethers are the compounds in which R and R' are similar, they are as well termed as simple ethers.
CH3 - O - CH3 CH3CH2 - O - CH2CH3
Methoxy methane Ethoxy ethane
Unsymmetrical ethers are the compounds in which R and R' are different, they are as well termed as mixed ethers.
CH3- O- CH2CH3
These are the compound having the oxygen atom in a ring. They are heterocyclic compounds.
Fig: Cyclic Ethers
The three membered cyclic ethers are termed as Epoxides. Dissimilar to most ether, Epoxides are extremely reactive substances.
Naming Ethers and Epoxides:
Ethers can be named by using the common system or the IUPAC system.
Common System: In the common system, ethers are named via prefixing the names of alkyl radicals joined to oxygen in alphabetical order prior to the name ether.
For example: CH3-O-CH3 is termed as dimethyl ether and CH3-O-C2H5 is simply ethyl methyl ether (that is, in alphabetical order).
IUPAC System: By using the IUPAC nomenclatures, ethers are termed as alkoxy derivatives of alkanes. The prefix, 'OR' is composed of the name of the simpler alkyl group in the molecule by the '-yl' ending substituted by the '-oxy'. The alkoxy prefix is then followed via the name of the corresponding alkane of the other alkyl group in the molecule.
Fig: IUPAC and Common Names of Ethers
In each and every case, the ring is numbered beginning at the oxygen.
Tetrahydropyran and tetrahydrofuran are the acceptable synonyms for oxane and oxalane correspondingly.
Some of the substances have more than one ether linkage, for illustration the diethers, 1, 2-dimethoxyethane and 1, 4-dioxane and the triether, diglyme.
1, 2-Dimethoxy ethane Diethylene glycol dimethyl ether
Compounds that have some ether functions are termed to as polyethers.
Ethers show the given kinds of structural isomerism.
Functional group isomerism:
Ethers are isomeric with alcohols as both encompass the similar general formula (CnH2n+2O) however different functional groups. For illustration, Methoxymethane (CH3OCH3) and ethanol (CH3CH2OH) have the similar molecular formula, C2H6O.
Ethers show Metamerism due to the difference in the size of the alkyl groups joined to the oxygen atom. For illustration, the formula C4H10O symbolizes three isomeric ethers or metamers.
Methoxy propane Ethoxy ethane
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