Ethyl sulfate

Ethyl sulfate

Ethyl sulfate, also known as sulfovinic acid, is an organic chemical compound used as intermediate in the production of ethanol from ethylene.


This substance was studied alongside ether for the first time by German alchemist August Siegmund Frobenius in 1730, subsequently by French chemists Fourcroy and Gay-Lussac in 1815. Swedish scientist Nicolas-Théodore de Saussure also studied it in 1807. Later French pharmacist Polydore Boullay discovered, sulfuric acid could produce large amounts of ether and water via a continuous process. Further studies by German and Swedish chemists Alexander Mitscherlich and Jöns Berzelius suggested sulfuric acid was acting as a catalyst, this eventually led discovery of Sulfovinic acid. The advent of electrochemistry by Italian physicist Alessandro Volta and English chemist Humphry Davy in the 1800s confirmed ether and water were formed by the action of sub-stoichiometric amounts of sulfuric acid and that sulfovinic acid was formed as an intermediate in the reaction.

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