MTBE methyl tert-butyl ether is an organic compound. MTBE is a volatile, flammable, and colorless liquid that is sparingly soluble in water. It has a minty odor vaguely reminiscent of diethyl ether, leading to unpleasant taste and odor in water.
MTBE is a gasoline additive, used as an oxygenate to raise the octane number. MTBE is almost exclusively used as a fuel component in fuel for gasoline engines. Most refiners chose MTBE over other oxygenates primarily for its blending characteristics and low cost. As a solvent, MTBE possesses one distinct advantage over most ethers - it has a reduced tendency to form explosive organic peroxides. Opened bottles of diethyl ether or THF can build up dangerous levels of these peroxides in months, whereas samples of MTBE are usually safe for years (but they should still be tested periodically). For this reason, as well as its higher boiling point, MTBE is extensively used as a solvent in industry, where safety concerns and regulations make working with diethyl ether, THF, or other ethers much more difficult and expensive. MTBE is also used as the raw materials to produce industrial MMA or isobutylene. MTBE forms azeotropes with water (52.6 °C; 96.5% MTBE) and methanol (51.3 °C; 68.6% MTBE). Although an ether, MTBE is a poor Lewis base and does not support formation of Grignard reagents. It is also unstable toward strong acids. It reacts dangerously with bromine.
Cenway offers MTBE with the purity of 88% and 98% that can be used for most of the above applications.