The key difference between ethanol and dimethyl ether is that the ethanol is a colorless liquid at room temperature which has high volatility whereas dimethyl ether is a colorless gas at room temperature. Further ethanol (common name is ethyl alcohol) is an alcohol while dimethyl ether is an ether.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Ethanol
3. What is Dimethyl Ether
4. Similarities Between Ethanol and Dimethyl Ether
5. Side by Side Comparison – Ethanol vs Dimethyl Ether in Tabular Form
What is Ethanol?
Ethanol is an alcohol having the chemical formula C2H5OH. The common name of this compound is ethyl alcohol. The functional group of this compound is a hydroxyl group (-OH). Ethanol is highly flammable; thus, it is used as a fuel as well. Moreover, it is a highly volatile compound. However, at room temperature, it is a colorless liquid with a characteristic odor.
Some Chemical Facts about Ethanol
- Chemical formula = C2H6O
- Molar mass = 07 g/mol
- Melting point = -114.1 °C
- Boiling point = 78.37 °C
- Physical state = at room temperature, it exists as a colorless liquid
- Odour = characteristic alcoholic odor
- Water solubility = miscible with water
Ethanol is miscible with water because it can form hydrogen bonds with water molecules (the –OH groups can form hydrogen bonds with H2O molecules). Therefore, the used solutions have high viscosity. Besides, the volatility decreases when ethanol is mixed with water.
Ethanol is a polar compound since it has a terminal hydroxyl group. It makes ethanol a good solvent for polar compounds. There are two pathways to produce ethanol: chemical processes and biological processes. The most common chemical process is the hydration of ethylene. The most common biological pathway is the fermentation of sugars by microorganisms.
The uses of ethanol include industrial applications, medical applications, as fuel, as a solvent, etc. Ethanol also has another use as an antiseptic because it can kill some microorganisms. Furthermore, ethanol is an antidote for methanol. Ethanol can be used directly as a fuel or as a fuel additive.
What is Dimethyl Ether?
Dimethyl ether is an ether compound having the chemical formula C2H6O. The IUPAC name of this compound is Methoxymethane. This compound is well known for its solvent properties. It has two methyl groups bonded via an oxygen atom; the two methyl groups are bonded to the same oxygen atom.
Some Chemical Facts about Dimethyl Ether
- Chemical formula = C2H6O
- Molar mass = 46.07 g/mol
- Melting point = −141 °C
- Boiling point = −24°C
- Physical state = at room temperature, it is a colorless gas
- Odor = ether-like odor
- Water solubility = not soluble in water
Dimethyl ether is a non-polar compound. This means dimethyl ether has no polarity. That is because of its symmetrical molecular structure. Therefore, it is a good solvent for nonpolar compounds. However, it is chemically unreactive when compared with other organic compounds.
What are the Similarities Between Ethanol and Dimethyl Ether?
- Ethanol and Dimethyl Ether are organic compounds.
- Both Ethanol and Dimethyl Ether have the same molar mass
- Both are good solvents
- Ethanol and Dimethyl Ether are made of C, H and O atoms.
What is the Difference Between Ethanol and Dimethyl Ether?
Ethanol vs Dimethyl Ether
|Ethanol is an alcohol having the chemical formula C2H5OH.||Dimethyl ether is an ether compound having the chemical formula C2H6O.|
|Ethanol is an alcohol.||Dimethyl ether is an ether.|
|The melting point of ethanol is -114.1 °C.||The melting point of dimethyl ether is −141 °C.|
|Boiling point of ethanol is 78.37 °C||Boiling point of dimethyl ether is −24°C|
|Ethanol is a colorless liquid at room temperature with high volatility.||Dimethyl ether is a colorless gas at room temperature.|
|Ethanol has a characteristic alcoholic odor.||Dimethyl ether has a typical ether-like odor.|
|Presence of Hydroxyl Group|
|Ethanol has a hydroxyl group (-OH).||Dimethyl ether has no hydroxyl groups.|
Summary – Ethanol vs Dimethyl Ether
Ethanol and dimethyl ether are organic compounds having the same molar mass but different chemical structures. The key difference between ethanol and dimethyl ether is that ethanol is a colorless liquid at room temperature whereas dimethyl ether is a colorless gas at room temperature.
1. “Ethanol.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Apr. 2018, Available here.
2. “Ether.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Available here.
3. “Diethyl Ether.” Diethyl Ether – New World Encyclopedia, Available here.