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tert-Butyl methyl ether

tert-Butyl methyl ether
tert-Butyl methyl ether structure
Chemical Name:
tert-Butyl methyl ether
Molecular Formula:
Formula Weight:
MOL File:

tert-Butyl methyl ether Properties

Melting point:
-110 °C
Boiling point:
55-56 °C(lit.)
vapor density 
3.1 (vs air)
vapor pressure 
4.05 psi ( 20 °C)
refractive index 
n20/D 1.369(lit.)
Flash point:
-27 °F
storage temp. 
Store at +2°C to +25°C.
Powder or Needles
APHA: ≤10
Specific Gravity
Characteristic ethereal odor
Relative polarity
explosive limit
Relative density, gas (air=1)
0.74 g/cm3 at 25 °C
Water Solubility 
51 g/L (20 ºC)
λ: 210 nm Amax: 1.0
λ: 225 nm Amax: 0.50
λ: 250 nm Amax: 0.10
λ: 300-400 nm Amax: 0.005
Stable, but may form explosive peroxides in contact with air. Extremely flammable - note low flash point. Incompatible with strong oxidizing agents.
CAS DataBase Reference
1634-04-4(CAS DataBase Reference)
EWG's Food Scores
3 (Vol. 73) 1999
NIST Chemistry Reference
Propane, 2-methoxy-2-methyl-(1634-04-4)
EPA Substance Registry System
Methyl tert-butyl ether (1634-04-4)
  • Risk and Safety Statements
Signal word  Danger
Hazard statements  H303-H225-H315-H304-H319-H335-H336-H351
Precautionary statements  P201-P202-P233-P240-P241+P242+P243-P261-P264-P271-P280-P301+P310+P331-P302+P352+P332+P313+P362+P364-P304+P340+P312-P305+P351+P338+P337+P313-P308+P313-P403+P233-P405-P501-P210-P370+P378-P403+P235-P241-P280a-P303+P361+P353-P501a
Hazard Codes  Xn,F,Xi,T
Risk Statements  36/37/38-40-38-11-39/23/24/25-23/24/25
Safety Statements  9-16-24-45-36/37-7
RIDADR  UN 2398 3/PG 2
WGK Germany  3
RTECS  KN5250000
Autoignition Temperature 705 °F
HS Code  2909 19 90
HazardClass  3
PackingGroup  II
Toxicity . LC50 in mice (15 min): 1.6 mmol/liter of atmosphere (Marsh)
NFPA 704
2 0

tert-Butyl methyl ether price More Price(91)

Manufacturer Product number Product description CAS number Packaging Price Updated Buy
Sigma-Aldrich 08603 tert-Butyl methyl ether analytical standard 1634-04-4 5ml-f $90.4 2020-08-18 Buy
Sigma-Aldrich 20256 tert-Butyl methyl ether puriss. p.a., ≥99.5% (GC) 1634-04-4 1 L $91.9 2021-03-22 Buy
Sigma-Aldrich 08603 tert-Butyl methyl ether analytical standard 1634-04-4 5 mL $93.3 2021-03-22 Buy
Sigma-Aldrich 1.01849 tert-Butyl methyl ether for analysis EMSURE? ACS 1634-04-4 1 L $105.45 2021-03-22 Buy
Sigma-Aldrich 1.01995 tert-Butyl methyl ether for gas chromatography ECD and FID SupraSolv? 1634-04-4 1 L $109.15 2021-03-22 Buy

tert-Butyl methyl ether Chemical Properties,Uses,Production


Internal combustion engines of high compression ratio require petrol with octane ratings that are sufficiently high to ensure efficient combustion. An economical way of achieving this property has been the use of anti-knock additives, such as tetraethyl and tetramethyl lead at concentrations up to 0.84 g l1. It was increasingly recognized, however, that lead is toxic and nondegradable, so its use in this way was gradually phased out. This action, which has been to the benefit of human health and the environment, required the reformulation of fuels to provide the desired high-octane ratings by the use of oxygenates. Fuel oxygenates are oxygen-rich compounds that act as octane enhancers, bringing the additional benefit of making petrol burn more completely, thereby reducing exhaust emissions. Oxygenates can be blended into petrol in two forms: alcohols (such as methanol or ethanol) or ethers.
The fuel oxygenate first used in reformulation was methyl tertiary-butyl ether, Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CAS RN) 1634-04-4 (MTBE). It had been recognized during World War II that MTBE had particularly good octaneenhancing properties, allowing octane numbers of 115–135 (Research Octane Number (RON)) and 98–120 (motor octane number) to be achieved, but it was not until 1973, spurred by the global oil crisis, that the first commercial plant given to the production of MTBE was opened in Italy. The introduction of lead-free fuels led to the development of three-way catalytic converters, which are based on platinum. Lead poisons the platinum catalyst, so such converters had been hitherto unusable. Catalytic converters allow a more nearly complete combustion of fuel, thereby reducing exhaust emissions such as carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatics, nitrogen oxides, and particulate carbon. These substances contributed significantly to the formation of smog, a phenomenon that is no longer a feature in the urban areas of those countries in which leaded petrol is prohibited.

Chemical Properties

Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), also known as tert-butyl methyl ether, a colorless liquid, is an aliphatic ether and volatile organic compound (VOC). It is moderately soluble in water and very soluble in some organic solvents such as alcohol and diethylether (ATSDR, 1996). It is a flammable liquid with a characteristic odor.


Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) was first commercially produced in Italy in 1973 for use as an octane enhancer in gasoline. U.S. production of MTBE started in 1979 after Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) was granted a waiver by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that allowed MTBE to be blended up to 7 vol % in U.S. unleaded gasoline. The use of other aliphatic ethers was allowed when the U.S. EPA issued its “substantially similar” definition for unleaded gasoline specifications in 1981. Under this definition, any aliphatic ether or ether mixture could be blended in unleaded gasoline as long as the total oxygen contribution from the ethers does not exceed 2.0% oxygen by weight in the gasoline. This allowed MTBE to be blended up to approximately 11 vol % in gasoline.


In western Europe, the second largest market for petrol in the world, concentrations of MTBE in petrol vary from 0 to 15%, depending on petrol grade, oil company, and country. As examples, 98–99 RON petrol grade (high performance, super, super plus) may typically contain 5–13% MTBE, whereas 92–95 RON grade (premium) contains 0.5–8% MTBE.
The use of MTBE as an octane enhancer in the United States began in 1979. By 1990, the Clean Air Act Amendments in the United States required fuel oxygenates, such as MTBE at 15% and ethanol, to be added to petrol in some metropolitan areas heavily polluted by carbon monoxide to reduce carbon monoxide and ozone concentrations. Areas that exceeded the national ambient air-quality standard for carbon monoxide were required to use oxygenated fuels by November 1, 1992. Despite the clear benefits of using oxygenates, there have been restrictions placed on its use in many areas of the United States because of growing numbers of detections of MTBE in drinking water resulting from leaking underground petrol tanks.


Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) is a synthetic chemical with synonyms methyl tertiary-butyl ether, tert-butyl methyl ether, tertiary-butyl methyl ether, methyl-1,1-dimethylethyl ether, 2-methoxy-2-methylpropane, 2-methyl-2-methoxypropane, methyl t-butyl ether, and MTBE. It was primarily used as a gasoline additive in unleaded gasoline in the United States prior to 2005, in the manufacture of isobutene, and as a chromatographic eluent especially in high pressure liquid chromatography (ATSDR, 1996; HSDB, 2012). It is also a pharmaceutical agent and can be injected into the gallbladder to dissolve gallstones (ATSDR, 1996). As a result of its manufacture and use, MTBE may be released into the environment through various waste streams directly (IPCS, 1998; HSDB, 2012).
The predominant use for MTBE in the United States was as an oxygenate in unleaded gasoline promoting more complete burning of gasoline. Reformulated fuel with MTBE was widely used in the United States between 1992 and 2005 to meet the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) requirements for reducing carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3) levels.


Methyl tert-butyl ether is used as a gasoline additive. Octane booster in gasoline.Nearly all methyl tert-butyl ether produced in the United States is used as an additive in unleaded gasoline to increase octane levels and reduce carbon monoxide emissions.
Chromatographic eluent especially in HPLC. Suitable for pesticide residue analysis.


ChEBI: An ether having methyl and tert-butyl as the two alkyl components.


tert-butyl methyl ether can be prepared by the reaction of potassium tert-butoxide and bromomethane.
preparation of tert-butyl methyl ether

General Description

A colorless liquid with a distinctive anesthetic-like odor. Vapors are heavier than air and narcotic. Boiling point 131°F. Flash point 18°F. Less dense than water and miscible in water. Used as a octane booster in gasoline.

Air & Water Reactions

Highly flammable. Oxidizes readily in air to form unstable peroxides that may explode spontaneously [Bretherick 1979. p.151-154, 164]. A mixture of liquid air and diethyl ether exploded spontaneously [MCA Case History 616. 1960].

Reactivity Profile

Ethers, such as tert-Butyl methyl ether, can act as bases. They form salts with strong acids and addition complexes with Lewis acids. The complex between diethyl ether and boron trifluoride is an example. Ethers may react violently with strong oxidizing agents. In other reactions, which typically involve the breaking of the carbon-oxygen bond, ethers are relatively inert.


Slightly toxic by ingestion and inhalation. Flammable when exposed to heat or flame. Upper respiratory tract irritant and kidney damage. Questionable carcinogen.

Health Hazard

INHALATION: May cause dizziness or suffocation. Contact may irritate or burn eyes or skin. May be harmful if swallowed.

Industrial uses

Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) is used as an octane enhancer in gasoline. EPA regulations allow up to 2.7 wt.% oxygen in gasoline which allows 15 vol.% MTBE in gasoline. Other alkyl ethers can also be blended into gasoline up to the 2.7 wt% oxygen requirement. The stability of MTBE to oxidation and peroxide formation gives this unsymmetrical ether an advantage over other ethers in various extraction and reaction solvent applications.

Safety Profile

Poison by intravenous route. Slightly toxic by ingestion and inhalation. Flammable when exposed to heat or flame. When heated to decomposition it emits acrid smoke and irritating fumes. See also ETHERS.

Potential Exposure

Used as an organic solvent; as an octane booster in unleaded gasolines; in making other chemicals; and in medicine to dissolve gall stones


Basis of determination of carcinogenicity of chemical compounds. There is general agreement among experts in chemical carcinogenesis that a substance that causes cancer in significant numbers of experimental animals in well-conducted assays poses a presumptive carcinogenic risk to humans, even in the absence of confirmatory epidemiological data. This principle is accepted by scientific and medical experts throughout the world and has served for many years as the basis for sound public health policy and regulatory action on carcinogens. For example, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization in its Supplement 7 of the Monograph states.
Ntp criteria for listing chemicals as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”.
Evidence of MTBE as a potential human carcinogen. Evidence from three separate animal bioassay studies (two different species of rats and in mice) demonstrates that chronic exposure to MTBE by either oral or inhalation route of exposure causes cancers in animals.

Environmental Fate

tert-Butyl Methyl Ether can be released during manufacturing or blending with gasoline; during the storage, distribution, and transfer of MTBE-blended gasoline; and from spills or leaks or fugitive emissions at automotive service stations (U.S. EPA, 1994a). Vapor emissions from MTBE-blended gasoline may also contribute to atmospheric levels (U.S. EPA, 1988). It is not expected to persist in the atmosphere because it undergoes destruction from reactions with hydroxyl radicals. A total atmospheric lifetime for MTBE of approximately 3 and 6.1 days has been reported in polluted urban air and in nonpolluted rural air, respectively (U.S. EPA, 1993a). Based upon its vapor pressure and Henry s law constant, MTBE is highly volatile and would be expected to evaporate rapidly from soil surfaces or water. It may be fairly persistent when introduced into subsurface soils or to groundwater since volatilization to the atmosphere is reduced or eliminated. It does not readily degrade in surface waters due to hydrolysis or other abiotic processes. It is also resistant to biodegradation (U.S. EPA, 1993a). It is usually removed from surface waters very rapidly because of its high volatility. If released as part of a gasoline mixture from leaking underground storage tanks, its relatively high water solubility combined with little tendency to sorb to soil particles encourages migration to local groundwater supplies (U.S. EPA, 1993a).


UN2398 Methyl tert-butyl ether, Hazard Class: 3; Labels: 3-Flammable liquid.

Purification Methods

Purify as for n-butyl methyl ether. [Beilstein 1 IV 1615.]

Toxicity evaluation

Generalizations are difficult to make for all of these different compounds. The transient neurological effects of the ethers at high doses may have a mechanistic commonality with others of this class, but this topic has not been studied in any detail. Even the mechanisms of ethanol neurotoxicity are not fully understood, despite years of research. The increase in renal tubule cell adenomas in male rats appears to be related in part to the male rat-specific α2u-globulin nephropathy in the case of TBA exposure, but more generally exacerbation of chronic progressive nephropathy (CPN), a naturally occurring disease that is specific to rats, seems to be a strong risk factor. It is not understood how this change in disease status occurs, but unlike α2u-globulin nephropathy there is no known biochemical basis for CPN exacerbation. Some of the few attempts to understand the mechanisms of toxicity can be found in Further Reading section.


May form explosive mixture with air. May be able to form unstable peroxides. Much less likely to form peroxides than other ethers. Incompatible with strong acids. Incompatible with oxidizers (chlorates, nitrates, peroxides, permanganates, perchlorates, chlorine, bromine, fluorine, etc.); contact may cause fires or explosions. Keep away from alkaline materials, strong bases, strong acids, oxoacids, epoxides. May accumulate static electrical charges, and cause ignition of its vapors.

Waste Disposal

Dissolve or mix the material with a combustible solvent and burn in a chemical incinerator equipped with an afterburner and scrubber. All federal, state, and local environmental regulations must be observed.

tert-Butyl methyl ether Preparation Products And Raw materials

Raw materials

Preparation Products

tert-Butyl methyl ether Suppliers

Global( 421)Suppliers
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View Lastest Price from tert-Butyl methyl ether manufacturers

Image Release date Product Price Min. Order Purity Supply Ability Manufacturer
2021-12-07 tert-Butyl methyl ether
US $1.00 / g 1g 99 20tons Shanghai Longyu Biotechnology Co., Ltd.
2021-12-01 Tert-Butyl Methyl Ether
US $3.70 / Kg/Drum 10g 99% 10000kg Hebei Crovell Biotech Co Ltd
2021-11-08 tert-Butyl methyl ether
US $5.00 / KG 1KG 99% 100 TONS Wuhan wingroup Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd

tert-Butyl methyl ether Spectrum

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