Why is ether used as the solvent during Grignard reactions?
Ether is used as a solvent because it is aprotic and can solvate the magnesium ion.
A Grignard reaction involves the reaction of an alkyl (or aryl halide) with magnesium metal to form an alkylmagnesium halide.
Diethyl ether is an especially good solvent for the formation of Grignard reagents for two reasons.
(a) Ether is an aprotic solvent
The Grignard carbon is highly basic and reacts with the acidic protons of polar solvents like water to form an alkane.
Ether has no acidic protons, so Grignard reagents are stable in ether.
(b) Ether is a great solvating agent
Hence, it is difficult to form a Grignard reagent in a nonpolar solvent.
Thus, Grignard reagents are soluble in ether.