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Chemistry LibreTexts

14.6: Autoxidation of Ethers

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  • Over time ethers that are exposed to air will autoxidize to peroxides which are potentially explosive. The general reaction is shown below.

    ch 15 sect 6 generic.png

    For example, diisopropyl ether will autoxidize to the products shown in the reaction below.

    ch 15 sect 6 example.png

    How to avoid explosions.

    1. buy ether in small quantities
    2. keep containers tightly sealed
    3. use opened containers promptly
    4. discard suspect containers
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