Importance Of Diethyl Ether

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Starting out, there was a mixture of an unknown acid, base, and neutral component. Just like the process outlined in the introduction, a solvent would be added to the solution containing the acid, base, and neutral unknown mixture. This solvent must have specific characteristics regarding solubility such that it dissolves the substance desired to be extracted while not dissolving or dissolving in only small portions the other substance not wanted purified out. It should also be easy to separate from the compound left in it after purification of the other so that complete purification can take take place4. This is why diethyl ether was used because it is a hydrocarbon, meaning it is mostly insoluble in water and satisfies the requirements discussed. …show more content…
This is because the extraction is based on the separation of the acid, base, and neutral components due to their different solubilities, where one would be soluble while another is not, (as mentioned in the introduction). Solubility is the principle of compounds (known as the solute) dissolving in the solvent (often water, but in this case diethyl ether, hydrochloric acid, etc) because the charges of the compound interact with the charges of the solvent. For instance, sodium chloride dissolves in water because the sodium cation has a positive charge and the chlorine anion has a negative charge. The water molecules also have partial charges because the oxygen is more electronegative than the hydrogen atoms, pulling electrons toward itself, producing a partial negative charge with a resultant partial positive charge on the hydrogen atoms. The charges between the sodium chloride and the water interact leading to a phenomenon known as solvolysis where the solute is interacting with the solvent molecules too much to reassociate to each other5. So, the sodium chloride molecules are interacting so much with the water molecules that they do not reassociate as table salt. In the case of the extraction, the different salts were soluble in water due to this phenomenon and why extraction works because salts are produced as a byproduct of acid-base …show more content…
The first solvent is usually acidic, such as hydrochloric acid in this case. In the separatory channel, the acid will react with the base in the mixture, forming a new solution. As a result the base will be protonated, forming a salt which is soluble in water6. This happens because the added acid gives off protons in solution, which are attracted to bases because they are nucleophiles and provide stability to the charge distribution. Furthermore, the resultant salt is soluble in water because it is an ionic bond, where a metal and nonmetal have completely transferred electrons, giving them a positive or negative charge which makes the significantly ionizable in polar solvents such as water. Therefore, the resultant layers in the separatory flask are a lower layer containing the base and an upper layer containing the acid and neutral components. This principle can be illustrated by the following chemical

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