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ReAgent has been a leading UK chemical supplier for over 40 years. With accreditation to a number of ISO Standards, as well as a 100% quality guarantee on every product, we have the knowledge and experience to handle all of your business needs.
You can buy tetrahydrofuran from our online chemical shop in 2.5L and 25L containers. This product is sold with over 99% purity levels and less than 0.05% water. Order online today where you can get nationwide next-day delivery and discounts on bulk orders.
We also have extra, industry-leading services available on all products, including personalised labelling, customisable packaging and the choice of specific pack sizes. Simply contact us for further information.
With the chemical formula (CH2)4O, tetrahydrofuran is a heterocyclic compound that is colourless, water-miscible and polar. Its polarity and wide liquid range make tetrahydrofuran (THF) an extremely versatile solvent.
THF converts into a linear polymer in the presence of strong acids. This polymer, known as poly(tetramethylene ether) glycol or PTMEG, is used in the manufacture of elastomeric polyutherane fibres like Spandex.
In this way, one of the most important applications of tetrahydrofuran, alongside its use as a solvent, is as a precursor to polymers.
How is Tetrahydrofuran Produced?
There are several methods for the synthesis of tetrahydrofuran, including:
- Catalytic hydrogenation of furan in the presence of a nickel catalyst
- Decarbonylation of furfural in the presence of a zinc-chromium-molybdenum catalyst to form furan, which is subsequently hydrogenated to tetrahydrofuran
- Dehydration of 1,4-butanediol in the presence of an acidic catalyst. A reaction between acetylene and formaldehyde generates 2-butyne-1,4-diol, which is subsequently hydrogenated to 1,4-butanediol. This saturated diol can be re-arranged into a ring to form tetrahydrofuran by acid catalysis at high temperature. This reaction can be done with a variety of catalysts including rare-earth oxides, aluminium silicates and inorganic acids. This is known as the Reppe process.
- Oxidation of butadiene at high pressure (3MPa) and temperature (80°C), and in the presence of a palladium-tellurium catalyst, produces 1,4-diacetoxy-2-butene. This compound is then hydrogenated to 1,4-diacetoxybutane, and finally hydrolysed to tetrahydrofuran.
The final method relies on a two-step process starting with n-butane. The first step involves oxidation to produce maleic anhydride and subsequent hydrogenation over a rhenium-doped palladium catalyst to synthesise tetrahydrofuran.
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