Petroleum ether

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This article is about the alkane mixture known as Benzine. For the aromatic hydrocarbon, see Benzene.

Petroleum ether or petroleum spirits is a highly flammable liquid distillate of petroleum heavier than naphtha and lighter than kerosene, known variously as benzine, varnish makers & painters naphtha (VM&P), petroleum naphtha, naphtha ASTM. It is a lightweight hydrocarbon used chiefly as a nonpolar solvent. Benzole (benzoline), Pether, ligroin, and X4 are related hydrocarbon mixtures. Ligroin was used as a fuel by the first motor car, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen.

Petroleum ether is a mixture of alkanes, e.g., pentane, hexane, and heptane, whereas benzene is a cyclic, aromatic hydrocarbon, C6H6. Likewise, petroleum ether should not be confused with the class of organic compounds called ethers, which contain the R-O-R' functional group.

Name[edit]

Despite being known as benzine, petroleum ether should not be confused with benzene or benzyne, nor mistaken for gasoline although many languages and dialects use a name derived from benzine for it, e.g. "Benzin" (German, Danish), "benzine" (Dutch), "bensin" (Swedish, Norwegian), "benzina" (Italian and Catalan), "bencina" (Chilean Spanish), or "benzină" (Romanian), "պենզին" (Armenian), and many other similar variants.

Those [liquids] which are classed as petroleum spirit (known as gasoline, benzine, benzoline, naphtha, japanners' spirit, &c.), and in regard to which there exist very special precautionary enactments, are, it need scarcely be said, of far more dangerous character than those classed as burning oils, which include the paraffin oils obtained from shale and the so-called flashing points of which range from 73 to above 140 F. The rapidity with which the vapours, evolved by the more volatile products on exposure to air, or by their leakage from casks or barrels, diffuse themselves through the air, producing with it more or less violent explosive mixtures, has been a fruitful source of disaster, sometimes of great magnitude. (Chemical News and Journal of Industrial Science 1885)[1]

Production[edit]

Petroleum ether refined from petroleum as the intermediate distillate between the lighter naphtha and the heavier kerosene. It has a specific gravity of between 0.6 and 0.8 depending on its composition. Distillation fractions of petroleum ether are commonly available as: 30 to 40 °C, 40 to 60 °C, 60 to 80 °C, 80 to 100 °C, 80 to 120 °C, and sometimes 100 to 120 °C. The 60 to 80 °C fraction is often used as a replacement for hexane. Petroleum ether is mostly used by pharmaceutical companies and in the manufacturing process. Petroleum ether consists mainly of pentane, and is sometimes used instead of pentane due to its lower cost.[2]

Use[edit]

  • Petroleum ether is the main ingredient of some 'label removers'.[3]
Ligroin predominantly consists of C7 to C11 in the form of about 55% paraffins, 30% monocycloparaffins, 12% alkylbenzenes, and 2% dicycloparaffins. It is nonpolar. Generally laboratory grade ligroin boils at 60 to 90 °C.

See also[edit]

  • Solvents and solute

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chemical News and Journal of Industrial Science. Chemical news office. 1885. pp. 184–. Those [liquids] which are classed as petroleum spirit (known as gasoline, benzine, benzoline, naphtha, japanners' spirit, &c.), and in regard to which there exist very special precautionary enactments, are, it need scarcely be said, of far more dangerous character than those classed as burning oils, which include the paraffin oils obtained from shale and the so-called flashing points of which range from 73 to above 140 F. The rapidity with which the vapours, evolved by the more volatile products on exposure to air, or by their leakage from casks or barrels, diffuse themselves through the air, producing with it more or less violent explosive mixtures, has been a fruitful source of disaster, sometimes of great magnitude. 
  2. ^ Williamson, Kenneth. Organic Experiments. 9th Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.
  3. ^ Safety Data Sheet: Sticker Remover, HG International b.v., accessed 2012-08-05
  4. ^ "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide". Robert Jay Lifton. Retrieved 1 November 2007.