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The name of the reaction was coined after Alexander William Williamson developed it in 1850.

The  general method for the synthesis of ether is Williamson ether synthesis , involves nucleophilic displacement of a halide ion or other good leaving group by an alkoxide ion.

The name of the reaction was coined after Alexander William Williamson developed it in 1850. Williamson Ether Synthesis is a reaction that uses deprotonated alcohol and an organohalide to form an ether.

Thus, Organic chemistry’s history holds a special place for the reaction. Read Williamson Ether Synthesis and its uses.

The basic mechanism of the reaction is:

Diethyl Ether and Sodium Chloride are formed when Sodium Ethoxide and Chloroethane react. The reaction is displayed below.

Na + C 2 H 5 O −  + C 2 H 5 Cl → C 2 H 5 OC 2 H 5  + Na + Cl −

For example, consider the following Williamson Ether Synthesis reaction.

Alkoxide ions are good nucleophiles and displace halide ions from alkyl halides resulting in the formation of a new carbon oxygen bond. Alkoxides are produced by treatment of alcohols with either a base or an alkali metal.

There are few limitations of Williamson Ether Synthesis.

Williamson’s synthesis: It is used for both basic and mixed ether preparation. The alkyl halide is heated to form corresponding ethers with alcoholic sodium or potassium alkoxide. So, methyl iodide forms dimethyl ether when heated with alcoholic sodium methoxide.

Williamson Ether Synthesis presents few limitations. Tertiary alkyl halides or primary or secondary alkyl halides that are sterically impeded continue to undergo E2 removal in the presence of alkoxide, which serves as a base in addition to being a nucleophile.

The synthesis of the Williamson ether is an organic reaction which forms an ether from an organohalide and a deprotonated alcohol (alkoxide). This reaction is significant in the organic chemistry history as it has helped to prove the ethers structure.

Alkyl halides (or tosylates) react to ethers by forming alkoxy ions. This reaction is called the synthesis of the ether. Examples: Note: Because this is an SN2 reaction and goes through a backside attack, the carbon configuration will be reversed (note the last two examples).

Ether was used in the history of medicine, particularly as a remedy for illnesses such as scurvy or pulmonary inflammation, until its creation as a surgical anaesthetic. Ether, a pleasant-smelling, colourless and highly flammable liquid, may be vaporized into a gas that reduces pain but keeps patients conscious.

Learn more about the organic reactions and its mechanism from the expert faculties at StudySolver.

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