Bromoethane, also known as ethyl bromide, is a colorless oily liquid with a characteristic ether-like odor. We often acquire it from the potassium bromide with frozen sulfuric acid and ethanol reaction. In this reaction, one hydrogen atom in an ethane molecule had replaced by a bromine atom. The chemical formula of Bromoethane is C2H5Br, and its molecular weight is 108.98 g/mol. Its CAS number is 74-96-4.
Properties and Uses of Bromoethane
Bromoethane is a volatile liquid that turns pale yellow in air and light. It is miscible with organic solvents such as ethanol, ether, and chloroform but only slightly soluble in water. In its vapor state, it is toxic and can cause anesthesia or respiratory irritation at high concentrations. Therefore, you’d better store it in a sealed container away from light and use it carefully.
What Is Bromoethane Used for?
- As a raw material for pharmaceuticals, pesticides, dyes, and fragrances. Serve as a reagent for analysis, a solvent, a refractive index standard sample, and in ethylated gasoline, refrigerants, and anesthetics production.
- Using as a fire-extinguishing agent in organic synthesis and the aviation industry.
- Also used in the pharmaceutical industry, it can prepare analgesics and other drugs for preoperative anesthesia and pain treatment.
- A crucial raw material for organic synthesis and can utilize as a fumigant for storing grains, warehouses, and buildings in agriculture.
- It kills bacteria by destroying their cell membranes and may use to treat skin diseases such as warts.
- Bromoethane can dissolve grease and dirt, achieving the purpose of cleaning and degreasing metal surfaces.
Precautions for Bromoethane Preparation
The preparation of Bromoethane requires several precautions to avoid accidents or failure:
- Shake the reaction mixture evenly before heating to prevent boiling over.
- Adding concentrated sulfuric acid should be done slowly and with cooling to prevent excessive loss of Bromoethane.
- The reaction should be carried out under low heat to prevent the escape of hydrogen bromide gas.
- Adequate reaction and distillation time should be allowed to prevent excessive evaporation of water, which can cause the solidification of sodium sulfate.
Toxicity and Handling of Bromoethane
Bromoethane is a potentially hazardous alkylating agent and avoids direct contact as much as possible. Inhalation is the primary entry route, which may cause anesthesia and respiratory irritation. Animal studies have shown that high concentrations of Bromoethane can cause central paralysis, respiratory depression, and death.
Chronic poisoning can cause neurological disorders, excitement, and sweating. Acute poisoning can cause temporary limb stiffness, large pupil dispersion, facial flushing, accelerated pulse, and frequent urination. In case of exposure to Bromoethane, remove the contaminated clothing immediately, and wash the skin thoroughly with soap and water. Medical attention should be sought immediately for supportive care and symptomatic treatment since there is no specific antidote for Bromoethane poisoning.
During production, Bromoethane should store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from heat sources and direct sunlight. It should be isolated from food industry materials and oxidizing agents during storage and transportation to prevent accidental ignition or damage to the packaging.
Bromoethane is a chemical compound with diverse applications across various industrial sections. Despite its versatility, it poses significant health and safety risks that demand careful handling and appropriate precautions. Such measures should prioritize the safety of the user and other persons who may come into contact with this hazardous substance.