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Chemistry LibreTexts

18: Ethers and Epoxides; Thiols and Sulfides

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  • We shall begin in a very traditional manner, with a discussion of the nomenclature of ethers. We will then describe how ethers may be prepared in the laboratory, and discuss the relative inertness of these compounds. A discussion of the chemistry of cyclic ethers follows, with particular emphasis on the preparation and reactions of epoxides—cyclic ethers containing a three‑membered ring. We will then introduce crown ethers—compounds that consist of large rings containing several oxygen atoms—and the spectroscopic properties of ethers. The unit will close with a description of the chemistry of thiols and sulfides, the sulfur‑containing analogues of alcohols and ethers.

    Learning Objectives

    • fulfill all of the detailed objectives listed under each individual section.
    • design a multi‑step synthesis using one or more of the reactions introduced in this chapter, along with any number of the reactions you have studied to date.
    • solve “road‑map” problems that may require a knowledge of the chemistry of ethers, epoxides, thiols and sulfides, in addition to any of the material you have studied up to this point in organic chemistry.
    • define, and use in context, the key terms introduced in this chapter.

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