Diethyl sulfate is a colorless liquid with formula (C2H5)2SO4. It has a peppermint odor with a melting point of about -25 ℃ and boiling point of 209.5 ℃ where it decomposes. When heated or mixed with hot water, irritant fumes is released. Diethyl sulfate does not dissolve in water, but is miscible with alcohol, ether and most polar organic solvents. Diethyl sulfate exists in the atmosphere in the gas phase. It will react with hydroxyl radical and has a short lifetime in the atmosphere where it will decompose into ethyl sulfate hydrogen sulfate and ethanol. Upon heating or mixing with hot water, diethyl sulfate will decompose into ethyl hydrogen sulfate and alcohol.
Diethyl sulfate is produced from ethylene and concentrated sulfuric acid. Ethylene gas is bubbled through a solution of concentrated sulfuric acid. Diethyl sulfate can also be produced by mixing concentrated sulfuric acid into a solution of ethyl alcohol or ethyl ether.
Diethyl sulfate is used as an ethylating agent which is an intermediate in the manufacture of dyes and pigments.
Diethyl sulfate is an ethylating agent as well as finishing agent in the manufacture of textile chemicals and production.
Diethyl sulfate is also used to make intermediate products used in the manufacturing of dye, fragrances and quaternary ammonium salts which are used as surfactants or flocculants in water treatment.
Diethyl sulfate is mainly used to make other chemicals which are then used in the manufacturing of softeners used to increase absorbency of tissue paper. It is used as a hardener for cresol formaldehyde resin manufacture. It is also used as a stabilizer for organophosphorus insecticide. It is used as an ethylating agent in the manufacturing of aromatic aliphatic ethers, amines, amides, esters and imides carbazole for pharmaceutical and flavor synthesis.