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Two alkyl groups are connected to a oxygen atom from single bonds in ethers. But ether compounds are very inert compounds. Therefore they are not much reactive when they compare with alcohols, carboxylic acids, aldehydes , ketones and many organic compounds containing oxygen. We can prepare ether by reacting alkyl halide and sodium salt of alcohols. Here we are going to prepare ethoxy ethane from ethanol.
Ethers are prepared by reaction of alkyl halides and sodium salt of alcohols.
Alkyl halide compound contains a halogen atom such as chlorine, bromine or iodine. When sodium salt of alcohol reacts with alkyl halide, halogen atom is removed as a halide ion and combines with sodium cation. Alkyl group of alkyl halide compound combine with oxygen atom and forms ester as the product.
Ethoxyethane has four carbon atoms. Two similar alkyl groups are bonded to oxygen atom.
Steps of preparing ethoxyethane is explained below. Separate two parts from given ethanol liquid.
Add sodium into separated ethanol part. It gives sodium alkoxide (CH3CH2O-Na+).
Phosphorus tribromide - PBr3
Other ethanol part reacts with PBr3. It will give bromoethane which is an alkyl halide compound.
Mix both bromoethane and sodium alkoxide . Then ethoxyethane is formed as the product.