Di Isopropyl Ether (also known as isopropyl ether, diisopropyl oxide, 2-isopropoxypropane, 2-2’oxybispropane, and DIPE) is a colourless liquid with a characteristic odour. It has the chemical formula C6H14O and is only slightly soluble with water but is miscible with most organic solvents.
To produce diisopropyl ether, propylene is first hydrated with water over a supported acidic catalyst to produce IPA (iso propanol). This is then reacted further with either propylene, or additional IPA, to form DIPE with reaction conditions controlled to promote the etherification with propylene.
Storage and distribution
Diisopropyl ether has a specific gravity of 0.78 and a flash point of -28 °C (closed cup) and is highly flammable. It should therefore be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area that is free from the risk of ignition. For transportation purposes, Diisopropyl ether is classified as packing group II and hazard class 3 and should be labelled as highly flammable and harmful.
Diisopropyl ether can be used in a wide variety of applications. Its most common use is as a solvent as oil-based solutions dissolve in it. This makes it the ideal base for many paints, waxes, dyes and resins. It is also used as a solvent in paint thinners and stain removers.
It can also be used as an extraction agent in metallurgy where, for example, it can recover gold from a nitric acid solution. DIPE also plays a role in the fuel industry as a gasoline blending component which, when added to gasoline, increases its octane levels.
Chemical manufacturers also find a use for DIPE in organic synthesis and as a means of analysing chemicals, as the solvent nature of DIPE makes it useful in chromatography.