Nomenclature of Ethers

Table of Contents

Nomenclature of linear ethers

They have the R-O-R' or Ar-O-Ar' functional group (recommendation C-211.1). There are two types of nomenclature and depending on the complexity of the ether, one type predominates over the other.

  • Substitutive nomenclature: the chain with the lowest number of carbons is named as the alkoxy substituent, followed by the name of the major hydrocarbon attached to the oxygen (recommendation C-211.2).

nomenclatura de los compuestos organicos eteres lineales metoxibutano etoxietano fenoxibenceno metoxibenceno anisol dietoxibenceno

  • Radical-functional nomenclature: the oxygen-bound radicals are named in alphabetical order, followed by the word ether (recommendation C-211.2).

nomenclatura de los compuestos organicos eteres butil metil eter dimetil eter difenil eter fenil metil eter anisol

Nomenclature of cyclic ethers

Cyclic ethers can be considered as heterocycles (rings with an atom other than carbon, in this case oxygen). For practical purposes they are classified into the following types:

Epoxides or oxiranes (3 atoms)

They are oxygenated three-membered heterocycles. The simplest epoxide (C2H4O) is called oxirane, although it is also known as ethylene oxide. A common way of naming oxiranes is to use the prefix epoxy-, placing the grouping on a chain by the lowest combining locators (recommendations C-212.2 and R-5.5.4).

nomenclatura de los compuestos organicos eteres oxirano oxido de etileno metil epoxibutano fenil epoxietano

Cyclic ethers (4, 5 and 6 atoms)

They are named according to recommendations C-215 and B-1. In all cases the locator 1 is applied to the oxygen atom.

nomenclatura de los compuestos organicos eteres oxetano tetrahidrofurano tetrahidropirano dioxano

Crown ethers

They are cyclic polyethers that can be considered derivatives of ethylene glycol (1,2-ethanediol). The most widespread nomenclature system is specific only for this type of structures.

nomenclatura de los compuestos organicos eteres de corona

The first number in the name corresponds to the total number of atoms in the ring, followed by the word crown between hyphens and finally a second number indicating the total number of oxygens in the cycle.


Return to the page naming mono-functional compounds.