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Reactive Group Datasheet


What are reactive groups?

Reactive groups are categories of chemicals that typically react in similar ways because they are similar in their chemical structure. Each substance with a chemical datasheet has been assigned to one or more reactive groups, and CAMEO Chemicals uses the reactive group assignments to make its reactivity predictions. More info about reactivity predictions...

If you can't find a chemical in the database--but you know what reactive group it belongs in--you can add the reactive group to MyChemicals instead in order to see the reactivity predictions.

There are 391 chemical datasheets assigned to this reactive group.


Low-molecular-weight ethers are flammable gases (dimethyl ether) or liquids (methyl ethyl ether or diethyl ether) that can produce explosive mixtures when they evaporate and mix with air. Ethers form peroxides if exposed to oxygen or air during storage; the ether peroxides can detonate with friction, shock, or heat, releasing enough energy to start a secondary fire in the unperoxidized ether.
Ethers tend to form unstable peroxides when exposed to oxygen. Ethyl, isobutyl, ethyl tert-butyl, and ethyl tert-pentyl ether are particularly hazardous in this respect. Ether peroxides can sometimes be observed as clear crystals, which can be shock sensitive, deposited on containers or along the surface of the liquid. Ethers usually act as weak Lewis bases. They form salts with strong acids and addition complexes with Lewis acids. The complex between diethyl ether and boron trifluoride is an example. Ethers may react violently with strong oxidizing agents. In other reactions, which typically involve the breaking of the carbon-oxygen bond, ethers are relatively unreactive.
As a group, ethers are moderately toxic. The lower-molecular weight ethers are powerful rapid-acting narcotics by inhalation. Toxic effects from these compounds are usually acute, not chronic. Swallowing one to two ounces of a liquid ether may be fatal.
Other Characteristics
Ethers contain an oxygen atom bonded to two organic groups, that is, they have general formula R-O-R', where the R and R' represent organic groups. Ethers are prepared by the Williamson synthesis (the reaction of a metallic alkoxide with an alkyl halide) and also by the reaction of alkyl hydrogen sulfates with alcohols. This amounts to the mixing of alcohols with sulfuric acid and heating. This process gives ethers as co-products in the preparation of alcohols from olefins in the presence of H2SO4.
Phenyl ether, ethyl ether, allyl ethyl ether, anisidine, anisole, butyl methyl ether, butyl vinyl ether, diallyl ether, isopropyl ether, divinyl ether, methyl ether.

Reactivity Documentation

Use the links below to find out how this reactive group interacts with any of the reactive groups in the database.

The predicted hazards and gas byproducts for each reactive group pair will be displayed, as well as documentation and references that were used to make the reactivity predictions.

Mix Ethers with: