On this page we will learn two important reactions that involve the alkyl group of ether.
Ethers are oxidised to peroxides when exposed to air and light.
These peroxides are very dangerous and cause explosion on heating. Hence, the presence of peroxide should be tested and removed before use.
Ether samples are shaken with aqueous KI. Appearance of purple or brownish colour indicates the presence of peroxide.
The reaction of ether with halogens is known as halogenation of ether. The products we get when ethers react with halogens largely depend on the condition.
For example, we get α,α'-dichlorodiethyl ether when diethyl ether reacts with Cl2 in dark.
In presence of light and excess of chlorine, all the hydrogen atoms are replaced by chlorine.