Organic compound having R-O-R’ as functional group are called ethers.

Structure and Nomenclature of Ethers

General formula :R-O-R’ are the same or different alkyl , aryl , alkeny , vinyl , alkynl groups.

1. (i) simple / symmetrical ethers : R & R’ are the same group

e.g. CH3-O-CH3 Dimethyl ether

(ii) Mixed / Unsymmetrical ethers: R & R’ are different group

e.g. C6H5-O-CH2C6H5 Benzyl phenyl ether

2. (i) aliphatic ethers : R & R’ are alkyl groups

e.g. CH3-O-CH2CH3 Ethyl methyl ether

(ii) Aromatic ethers : Either are both R & R’ are aryl groups

e.g. C6H5-O-C6H5 Diphenyl ethers

Aromatic ethers are further subdivided into :

(a) Phenolic ethers: One of the groups are aryl while other is alkyl or Alkyl aryl ethers

e.g. C6H5-O-CH3 Methyl phenyl ether

(b) Diaryl ethers: both groups are aryl

e.g. C6H5-O-C6H5 Diphenyl ether

3. There are various types of cyclic ethers also.

(i) Cyclic ethers consisting of 2 C’ s in a 3 member ether are called as oxirane or Epoxides

(ii) 3 C’s in a 4 member ether are called oxetanes

(iii) 4C’s in a 5 member ether are called tetrahydrofurans.

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