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What is the structure of ethers and how do they differ from alcohols?

Ethers have a central oxygen atom bonded to two carbon groups, while alcohols have a hydroxyl group.

Ethers are organic compounds that contain a central oxygen atom bonded to two carbon groups. The general formula for ethers is R-O-R', where R and R' represent alkyl or aryl groups. The oxygen atom in ethers has two lone pairs of electrons, which makes it a good Lewis base and allows it to form hydrogen bonds with water molecules.

Ethers differ from alcohols in that alcohols have a hydroxyl (-OH) group instead of an oxygen atom bonded to two carbon groups. The hydroxyl group in alcohols makes them more polar than ethers, which affects their physical and chemical properties. For example, alcohols have higher boiling points and are more soluble in water than ethers.

Ethers can be prepared by the Williamson ether synthesis, which involves the reaction of an alkoxide ion with an alkyl halide. They are commonly used as solvents in organic chemistry, as they are relatively inert and have low toxicity. However, ethers can also be explosive and flammable, especially in the presence of air or oxygen.

In summary, ethers have a central oxygen atom bonded to two carbon groups, while alcohols have a hydroxyl group. Ethers are less polar than alcohols and have lower boiling points and solubility in water. They are commonly used as solvents in organic chemistry but can be explosive and flammable.

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