Petroleum ether, also known as benzine, Naphtha, Petroleum Naphtha, Naphtha ASTM, Petroleum Spirits, X4 or Ligroin, is a group of various volatile, highly flammable,liquid hydrocarbon mixtures used chiefly as nonpolar solvents. Chemically, it is not an ether like diethyl ether, but a light hydrocarbon.
Petroleum ether is obtained from petroleum refineries as the portion ofthe distillate which is intermediate between the lighter naphtha and the heavier kerosene. It has a specific gravity of between 0.6 and 0.8 depending on its composition. The following distillationfractions of petroleum ether are commonly available: 30 to 40°C, 40 to 60°C, 60 to 80°C, 80 to 100°C, 80 to 120°C and sometimes 100 to 120°C. The 60 to 80°C fraction is often used as a replacementfor hexane.
Petroleum ether is mostly used by pharmaceutical companies and in the manufacturing process. Petroleum ether consists mainly of pentane, and is sometimes used instead of pentane due to itslower cost.
Benzine should not be confused with benzene or benzyne, nor should it be confused with gasoline although many languages call that with a name derived from benzine. Benzine is a mixtureof alkanes, pentane, hexane, and heptane, whereas benzene is a cyclic, aromatic hydrocarbon, C6H6. Likewise, petroleum ether should not be confused with the class of organic compounds called ethers, whichcontain the R-O-R' functional group.
During the Second World War some extermination camps experimented by killing people with benzine injections.
Benzine is useful for removing the gum fromself-adhesive stamps.
Ligroin is a refined saturated hydrocarbon petroleum fraction similar to petroleum ether used mainly as a laboratory solvent.
It predominantly consists of C7 through to C11 inthe form of about 55% paraffins, 30% monocycloparaffins, 12% alkylbenzenes, and 2% dicycloparaffins. It is nonpolar. Generally laboratory grade ligroin boils at 60 to 90 °C.
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