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Petroleum Ether


Silencer
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If diethyl ether was that dangerous, it would not be used as a solvent in labs and organic chemistry students across the world would not be using it. (I've also never said that it's not flammable. In fact, I know first hand that it's pretty flammable. Just read through my posts here. :D) Diethyl ether has a shelf-life of about 1 year. That means that there will not be any dangerous levels of peroxide in there for up to one year after it was manufactured. If you routinely use diethyl ether that has a yellow tinge to it or is well past its shelf life, then the company/school you work for has absolutely no clue about proper safety and chemical handling.

 

(I've also worked with diethyl ether for quite a bit when going through college and my internship. Every bottle of it that we had was stored in a chemical refridgerator and the date it was opened up was written on the bottle. After 10 months, we were instructed to dispose of the bottle and not use it. It was one year if the bottle was not opened).

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exposure to light in the case of some labs, hence it`s one of those chems best kept in a tin or a brown bottle at minimum.

 

stored as `Cold Start` for engines, it`s shelf life is years! just take out what you need when you need it, the butane boils off in a matter of minutes. I use mine mainly for plant oil extracts.

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Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but with diethyl ether one of the ethyl groups is cleaved off leaving you with a CH3CH2-O- group and an ethyl group. When two molecules undergo this change, you wind up with CH3CH2-O-O-CH2CH3 and some butane. So if that is correct, the addition of the butane to the diethyl ether skews the equillibrium and actually would prevent the peroxide from forming, hence why the shelf life is so long. Wow. I think this logic is pretty good. :D

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  • 1 year later...

ok lets take this from another angle.

I do not encourage or condone or suggest nor am I telling you to do this process it does however work.

diethyl ether has a boiling point of 34.6 C

heptane has a boiling point of 98.42 C

 

Hexane has a boiling point of 69 C

 

none of these substances with the exception of the diethyl ether has any solubility in water distilled cold or otherwise.

 

I have read this forum through on this thread and someone was looking to get pure petrolium ether.. this is not the ether that was used as an anesthetic just so you know. petrol ether is and industrial solvent.

 

to get the anesthetic you will need to first purchase a large quantity of starter fluid (the automotive kind with diethyl ether listen in its contents. and as few unknowns listed as possible.

spray the contents in to a sealable container. I use grolsch bottles as they are resealable and the neck provides me with an automatic funnel. now you will need to construct a still. yes a still an aparatis for evaporating or boiling of a solution to seperate its individual components. I find a couple of sealable buckets and two smaller containers that will fit inside work nice. you will need an immersion heater like you find at a pet store that deals with tropical fish . get an adjustable one preferably digital and wide range of low temperatures.

 

place your large bucket on the floor. inside of it place a wire rack or some other nonreactive rack to seperate the small container from the bottom of the bucket. on the rack place your small container and in to that pour your starter fluid. take the lid for the large bucket and cut a 1 inch or apropriate hole and fit it with a rubber stopper with a small hole drilled through it. cut the stopper half way through to the hole and fit the cord to your immersion heater in it and run it through the top of the lid and place the stopper in the hole in the lid

 

place the heater element in the starter fluid in the small container and seal the lid to the large bucket. make sure your setttings are correct a temperature of 35-40 C should be about right.

 

now wait you can even performa this by reducing the scale of your containers and use your refrigerator to keep the process more pure but you will have to also incert a thermometer in to the small container and out through the large lid to make sure you are getting up to temp for the diethyl ether to boil out of the heptane and hexane. what you are left with is almost pure diethyl ether in the bottom of the large bucket. the process should take no more than an hour to eight and you shoud collect several batches of the final product and re distill them to purify. no this is the information that no one wants you to know this is a very dangerous method as it involves boiling Diethyl ether and having it in a semi gasous form which is highly explosive. no spark flame or other source of ignition..(static electricity kills folks) should be remotely present. get some static guard and spray yourself down too. and ground yourself . you may think I am paranoid but you cannot CAN NOT be too carefull when dealing with explosives and this is what you have made. now as to peroxides and all that that is not my area and I know nothing of it short of what I have read but I have never had a problem with Ether exploding because I never had it around long enough nor did I ever make more than I wanted to use on a specific project.

 

hope this helps.

again this is for educational purposes only do not do this if it is agains the law in your area.

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Silencer

 

Shellite from the hardware store is generally an ok substitute for backyard extractions that call for di-ethyl ether (though it most certainly is NOT di-ethyl ether - it is Naphtha which is synonymous with petroleum ether --- i believe it is mostly heptane ) ... if you dont trust it's purity wash it with distilled water before use (ie add water, shake, let seperate into layers - the shellite floats ... discard water layer from the bottom)

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Can anyone else see why this

"Shellite from the hardware store is generally an ok substitute for backyard extractions"

is exactly why this

"if you dont trust it's purity wash it with distilled water before use (ie add water, shake, let separate into layers - the shellite floats ... discard water layer from the bottom)" may not work very well.

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re me: -- i lied its mostly hexane not heptane

 

re john .. - the msds for the only product in Aus named "shellite" states that the product is 100% volatile hydrocarbons, identifying the components as being pentane, hexane, heptane which together or seperatley seem to benamed as "naptha" or "petroleum ether". These will all boil off if evaporated and are not miscible with water. A wash with water will help dilute & seperate most anything that has managed to become dissolved in water absorbed by any of these solvents(if any has been absorbed at all).

 

You could distill it if you really didnt trust the MSDS but i am not that sceptical and will happily settle for simply washing the product with dH2O - especially for something i am not eating in the end.

 

If a person is concerned about purity or is extracting something for human consumption they should go to a chemical supplier and buy propper lab grade chemicals.

 

Also as far as substitution of petroleum ether for diethylether in extractions goes -correct me if im wrong but as far as i am aware they have quite similar solvation properties and can "generally" be used interchangably for many extractions.

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That mixture of hydrocarbons is fairly good at extracting things from water so, unless you happen to have something very water soluble in it as an impurity, washing with water won't remove the impurity. If on the other hand the stuff is very water soluble then it's unlikely to disolve in the naptha in the first place.

Having said that, it looks like you have found a source of pet ether which was the original problem.

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