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Name: Joanne
Status: student
Age: 18
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1999

where, exactly, can one buy petroleum ether...what is the price range per, sat, 500 mls. Can it be made easily at home...distilling gasoline, or is that too big a risk?

DO NOT distill gasoline at home! Petroleum ether is a very volatile, very dagerous substance - much more flammable than gasoline. Simply having it in your home is a risk, as most people (and I assume you) do not own a proper, ventilated safety cabinet.

Spencer Pasero

You might be able to get a little petroleum ether from gasoline, but gasoline is the petroleum fraction AFTER petroleum ether - that is, petroleum ether is the fraction that is more volatile than gasoline. (In addition, commercial gasoline has a lot of other stuff added to it to make it a good automotive fuel, further reducing the already small proportion that would be pet ether.)

Generally, home laboratories are not safe for working with highly flammable materials such as gasoline or pet ether. The ventilation and fire suppression systems just aren't good enough.

Just about any chemical supplier (Aldrich, Fisher, VWR, etc.) will sell pet ether. The chemical grade stuff is fairly cheap as solvents go, but rather expensive for a home budget - about $20 for 500 mL. I doubt, however, that any of these supliers will sell to a private individual.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph. D.
Chemistry Division
Argonne National Laboratory

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