Diethyl ether peroxide

Diethyl ether peroxide
Diethyl ether hydroperoxide
CAS number 18321-53-4
ChemSpider 19985446 YesY
Jmol-3D images Image 1
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Molecular formula C4H10O3
Molar mass 106.12 g/mol
Density 1.005 g/cm³
Boiling point

62 - 64 °C at 18.7 hPa (reduced pressure)

Main hazards Explosive
NFPA 704
NFPA 704.svg
 YesY ether peroxide (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Diethyl ether peroxides are a class of organic peroxides that slowly form in diethyl ether upon storage under air, light, or in the presence of metal by autoxidation.


Diethyl ether hydroperoxide

Diethyl ether hydroperoxide (CH3-CH2-O-CH(OOH)-CH3) is a colorless liquid of low viscosity with a pleasant smell. Upon heating it weakly deflagrates, resulting in a fog of acetic acid and water. Diethyl ether hydroperoxide decomposes in the presence of sodium hydroxide and Fe2+-containing salts.

Diethyl ether peroxide

Diethyl ether peroxide, also known as ethylidene peroxide, (-CH(CH3)OO-)n is a polymerization product of diethyl ether hydroperoxide. It is a colorless oily liquid that is an extremely brisant and friction sensitive explosive material. Amounts of less than 5 milligrams can damage chemical apparatuses.[who?] The dangerous properties of ether peroxides are the reason that diethyl ether and other peroxide forming ethers like tetrahydrofuran (THF) or ethylene glycol dimethyl ether (1,2-dimethoxyethane) are avoided in industrial processes.

Formation of diethyl ether peroxide


Diethyl ether peroxides can be detected with potassium iodide (KI) solution or potassium iodide / starch paper. A positive test results in the formation of iodine (I2) that causes a pink color of the ether phase or a dark bluish spot on the paper strip.


Ether peroxides can be destroyed by disproportionation to acetaldehyde with Fe2+ or Mn2+ ions or with triphenylphosphine (PPh3). The resulting aldehyde has to be removed to prevent a rapid back-formation of peroxides.


  • A. Rieche, R. Meister, Modellversuche zur Autoxidation der Äther, Angewandte Chemie 49(5):106 (1936) (German)

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