Tetrahydrofuran or Diethyl Ether – Which to Use?

Tetrahydrofuran (C4H8O) is a heterocyclic hydrocarbon. One of the carbon atoms of a cyclopentane ring (along with its two hydrogen atoms) is replaced by an atom of oxygen. THF is an ether. It's frequently used for its solvent properties. In certain organometallic reactions, tetrahydrofuran replaces all or part of the standard solvent diethyl ether, (C2H5-O-C2H5), written in chemists' shorthand Et-O-Et. Tetrahydrofuran Vs. Diethyl Ether Although THF is essentially diethyl ether gone cyclic, its physical properties differ somewhat. A prime example of that relates to hydrogen bonding. Although both molecules possess an electron-rich oxygen atom, in THF, the oxygen is openly exposed. The ring can twist, but that's about it. The hydrocarbon portions of ethyl ether¹ have much greater freedom of motion. They can sweep around, making hydrogen bonding easier to…
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Corncob Destructive Distillation: Hemicellulose to Xylose to Furfural

Chemistry, Manufacturing
What does corncob destructive distillation produce? A most interesting product—furfural. What is it? What is it good for? What is Furfural? Furfural is an interesting organic compound, possessing a five member ring structure with a heterocyclic atom (oxygen) and several functional groups built in. It is an ether, a diene, and an aldehyde. What is the Reaction? Corncobs1 are rich in hemicellulose. Hemicellulose can be broken down to produce the five-carbon sugar—xylose, C5H10O5. Xylose can react further to produce the heterocyclic aldehyde furfural, IUPAC2 name furan-2-carbaldehyde. Corncobs (hemicellulose) → C5H10O5 → furfural (see diagram) The steps can be combined. The resultant reaction process is termed destructive distillation. Corncob Destructive Distillation The corncobs may be dried and chopped into tiny bits the size of a grain of corn or smaller. These…
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