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Chemicals and Solvents

Chemicals and Solvents

Top 8 Industrial Uses of Tetrahydrofuran

Tetrahydrofuran or THF is an organic solvent that contains hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. It is composed of 4 carbon atoms, 8 hydrogen atoms, and 1 oxygen atom, and is a heterocyclic ether. THF mixes well with other polar compounds such as ethanol, methanol, acetonitrile, and water. It’s less dense than water and its vapors are heavier than air. THF is an important compound to organic chemists. It serves as a versatile solvent and is used in polymer science.

The following are the chemical properties of tetrahydrofuran:

  • Chemical formula: C4H8O
  • Molar mass: 72.107 g·mol−1
  • Density: 0.8876 g/cm3 at 20 °C, liquid 
  • Melting point: −108.4 °C (−163.1 °F; 164.8 K)
  • Boiling point: 66 °C (151 °F; 339 K)
  • Appearance: Colorless liquid
  • Odor: Ether-like
  • Solubility in water: Miscible

Where is Tetrahydrofuran Found?

The THF ring is found in a variety of natural products such as acetogenins, lignans, and polyketide. All of these natural products are found in plants.

What is Tetrahydrofuran Found In?

Tetrahydrofuran is used in many ways. The following are some of the ways this versatile solvent is used:

  1. As a precursor to polymers
  2. In solvents used in lab organic synthesis
  3. In varnishes
  4. As an industrial solvent for making PVC
  5. As a cleaning agent
  6. As a coating for cellophane
  7. In the production process of petroleum
  8. As a reaction medium in the pharmaceutical industry

Why is Tetrahydrofuran THF a Good Solvent?

A solvent is a substance that dissolves other compounds and molecules. THF dissolves a wide variety of organic compounds. Tetrahydrofuran is a good solvent because of its ability to form hydrogen bonds and because of its polarity.

THF forms charge-based attractions due to its polarity with other ions and polar molecules. The ions and polar molecules interact with partially negative and partially positive ends of the THF leading to the formation of a 3-D sphere or hydration shell around the solute. This causes the solute to dissolve.

What is the Role of THF in the Mobile Phase?

THF is used often as a mobile phase solvent. The role of THF in the mobile phase is its eluting strength. Eluting strength is how strongly the solvent adsorbs onto the adsorbent. Adsorbents are very polar. Eluting strength becomes greater with solvent polarity.

Tetrahydrofuran Hazards

There are a few things to keep in mind when using tetrahydrofuran. THF is highly flammable in the vapor and liquid form. Vapors can be explosive when mixed with air. THF is also corrosive to coatings, rubber, and plastics.

When using THF, be sure to wear face protection, eye protection, protective clothing, protective gloves since tetrahydrofuran can irritate the skin, eyes, respiratory system, and depress the central nervous system.

Be sure to keep THF away from open flames, sparks, hot surfaces, and heat.

Where To Buy Tetrahydrofuran

Lab Pro offers a large variety of organic solvents such as tetrahydrofuran. For over 40 years, Lab Pro Inc. has been committed to delivering the highest quality tetrahydrofuran, hand tools, chemicals, lab equipment, distance learning kits, lab supplies, and cleanroom PPE apparel to medical device companies and laboratories worldwide. To learn more, visit the biggest Lab Supply showroom in California, or contact us online or at 888-452-2776.

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