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Petroleum Ether


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#1 Silencer

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 03:52 PM

Where can an individual obtain some petroleum ether, assuming that most chemical suppliers won't sell to individuals and that distilling gasoline is most definitely out?

I imagine that some similar solvents would work equally well, so please let me know if you think there are some alternatives.
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#2 Fortuna

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 06:21 PM

hmmm. I probably should't tell you this, but Coleman fuel is in large part composed of petroleum ether and some other high temp hydrocarbon plus a small fraction of some types of petroleum oils.

Assuming that you need it fairly pure, you could distill it from colman fuel using a hot water or steam bath for the heat source. Needless to say, do NOT use an open flame to do this distillation. As I said, use a hot water bath and you need to use extremely cold water in the distillation column.

Also, do not attempt vacuum distillation for obvious reasons.

After distillation, test it against the known properties of pet ether.(again, do the boiling point test using a hot water bath. NO OPEN FLAMES around pet ether. While admittedly pet ether is not nearly as flammable as diethyl ether, it is still fairly flammable.


As to using other organic solvents, if you would tell us what you are planning to do with it, I might be able to give you an appropriate substitute.
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#3 akcapr

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 07:38 PM

wont that stuff make u fall asleep?
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:)

#4 Silencer

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 08:13 PM

How well would the other substances in Coleman fuel evaporate?
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#5 budullewraagh

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 10:00 PM

no, diethyl ether is the kind you're thinking of, akcapr
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#6 jdurg

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 10:14 PM

Yeah, diethyl ether used to be used as an anaesthtic until they realized that it was incredibly flammable and that the bottles it was stored in tended to form explosive peroxides. They had also discovered better methods to anesthetize people. :D
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#7 akcapr

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 10:15 PM

that be pretty weird if ur doing som distillation or watever and like u fall asleep and waste like 500$ worth of butane or watever.
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:)

#8 budullewraagh

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 10:19 PM

i happen to really like the smell and the effects of diethyl ether
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#9 akcapr

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 10:31 PM

cool do u actually fall asleep
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#10 budullewraagh

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 11:10 PM

ive never been exposed to that much. it would, im sure. i got pretty buzzed during that ap bio lab.
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#11 Molotov

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 11:31 PM

I need to do an extraction. Does anyone know a good place to get lab grade diethyl ether online?
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#12 jdurg

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 12:15 AM

Oh I've never said that diethyl ether has a bad smell. It's a very sweet, and good tasting odor. It's just that it leaves you with a nasty headache if you've inhaled a bit too much of it. That and it's propensity to catch fire and explode if stored for too long. ;) (I was missing eyebrows for a few months when some evaporating diethyl ether off of my jacket ignited while lighting a cigarette. Hence why it's bad to smoke. :P )
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#13 BenSon

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 12:45 AM

Is that why u quit? fear of combustion, if you ask me thats a pretty good incentive :)

~Scott
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#14 jdurg

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 01:02 AM

I quit for financial, medical, and just plain got sick of it reasons. :D
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#15 Insane

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 03:41 AM

Haha, that would make an excellent stop smoking ad.

"Scientists confirm that not only smoking, but lighting cigarettes poses a health risk. Any diethyl ether or combustable vapors you may have on you may combust upon lighting. This may result in the loss of eyebrows, hair, facial hair, virginity etc..."
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#16 Silencer

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 04:21 AM

Diethyl ether would also work for my purposes. Do you think this is easier to obtain?

Apparenly any nonpolar solvent would work, but preferable one that evaporates quickly and won't leave anything behind when it does (anything bad for human consumption, at least).
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#17 Fortuna

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 08:52 PM

WEll,

Diethyl ether is also pretty easy to extract from commercially available products. But, be warned, this stuff is majorly flammable, and can kill you without much effort, or by a simple mistake on your part.

I strongly suggest that you don't attempt storing it for any long periods of time, as peroxides will form that will make it spontanteously explode.

I suggest that you prepare it just before you are ready to use it, and don;t attempt storing it exceopt under refrigerated conditions, and even that isn;t fool proof.

So, here is the procedure. Got to your local auto-parts store and obtain some commercial starting fluids which will tell you it contains di-ethyl ether. This will also contain methanol and other petrol additives.
MIx it in a closed container with an equal volume of COLD distilled water. Shake vigourously for a short time and let it separate and pour into a separatory funnel. The eher will float to the top. Run off the bottom water layer, and run off a small fraction of the ether. Repeat the process (did I mention to usae COLD dH2O) ? After this process, chill the product, and add some dry CaCl2 to dry out any remaining water, Shake well, and filter. (NO OPEN FLAMES ANYWHERE WITHIN 100 feet while you do this. Best to do the filtration in a freezer. A blast shield isn;t a bad idea either.

You now have some reasonably pure di-ethyl ether. Use it immediately for whatever you are going to do.

If you want to store it, then use the procedure outlined by Vogel in his 5th edition, pg 404-405/ Make DAMN sure that it is 100% dry before adding some sodium wire, otherwise, you will be in need of a marble headstone which reads, <<This fool messed around with Di-ethyl ether>>.

Make what you need, use it immediately, and dispose of what you dont use.

NY the way, if you notice that some of your stored ether gets a yellowish color to it, carefully move it into a freezer, let it get very cold, and then dispose of it.

Warning- The preceeding procedure is dangerous ! But, natural selection has a way of ridding us of chemists who arent so very bright, and those who don't follow directions well.

And don't take my word for this alone. Read up in Vogel about this stuff. Do your research and folllow directions carefully. If you are an inpatient type of person. Dont even attempt this, or we will all be talking about how we miss you in this world.
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#18 Silencer

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 10:51 PM

Lol, thank you for that very enlightening and amusing post.

What other sorts of chemicals are in the starting fluid? I know methanol isn't a problem. Would the other stuff evaporate away?

I also hear that Zippo fluid works for these purposes.

BTW, how does one dispose of diethyl ether?
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#19 jdurg

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Posted 25 April 2005 - 02:06 AM

Diethyl Ether isn't THAT dangerous Fortuna. You make it sound like it's nitroglycerine there. ;-) Diethyl ether generally has a shelf life of about 1 year. So you can keep it stored for about 10 months or so before you really have to worry about peroxide dangers. (Just make sure it is properly labelled and that it has a 'breathable' cap on it. This allows any formed gases to escape from the container, and prevents a high pressure of oxygen buildup which allows for peroxide formation). For disposal of it, you can generally just let an open mass of it evaporate in a fume hood, or it can be burned away.
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#20 YT2095

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Posted 25 April 2005 - 08:19 AM

you can buy the stuff in cans for pocket change!

it`s sold as "Cold Start" for engines, it`s in an aerosol can with a butane propellant, spray it into a beaker (out doors) and the butane boil off, you`ll be left with pure Diethyl Ether.
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