Difference Between Ethyl and Methyl

Main Difference – Ethyl vs Methyl

The terms ethyl and methyl are used to name a group of atoms that are attached to the main carbon chain. They are known as alkyl substituents. Ethyl group is composed of two carbon atoms and five hydrogen atoms. When this ethyl group is bonded with a –OH group, it is known as ethyl alcohol. Methyl group is composed of one carbon atoms and three hydrogen atoms. Both ethyl and methyl groups are saturated groups, which means there are no double or triple bonds between atoms. The main difference between ethyl and methyl is that ethyl group is composed of two carbon atoms whereas methyl group is composed of one carbon atom.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Ethyl
     – Definition, Properties, Ethylation
2. What is Methyl
     – Definition, Properties, Methylation
3. What are the Similarities Between Ethyl and Methyl
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Ethyl and Methyl
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Benzene, Ethyl, Ethylation, Carbon, Hydrogen, Methyl, Methylation

Difference Between Ethyl and Methyl - Comparison Summary

What is Ethyl

Ethyl group is an alkyl substituent composed of two carbon atoms and five hydrogen atoms. The chemical formula of ethyl group is –C2H5. It is derived from ethane (C2H6) by removing one hydrogen atom. it is a saturated group of atoms which has no double or triple bonds between atoms.

Difference Between Ethyl and Methyl

Figure 1: Groups of Atoms in Blue Color are Ethyl Groups

The molar mass of ethyl group is 29 g/mol. It has one vacant point to which an atom or a group of atoms can get attached. Compounds containing ethyl groups are named using the prefix –ethyl. For example, when a –OH groups are attached to an ethyl group, the compound is named as ethyl alcohol, and when the ethyl group is attached to a halide group, it is called an ethyl halide such as ethyl chloride.  

Ethylation is the process of introduction of an ethyl group to a different molecule. Here, the ethyl group get attached to a vacant point on that molecule. For example, when benzene reacts with ethyl chloride in the presence of FeCl3 and HCl, an electrophilic substitution reaction takes place forming ethyl substituted benzene.

What is Methyl

Methyl group is a group of atoms consisting of one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms. It is a saturated group in which no double or triple bonds are present. The chemical formula of methyl group is –CH3. The molar mass of the group is 15 g/mol.

Main Difference - Ethyl vs Methyl

Figure 2: Methylation

Methyl group has one vacant point where another atom or group of atoms can get attached to. Methyl group is derived from methane (CH4). When one hydrogen atom is removed from methane, the methyl group is formed. Methyl group is the simplest alkyl substituent.

Methylation is the introduction of a methyl group to a different molecule. For example, when benzene reacts with methyl chloride in the presence of FeCl3 and HCl, methyl substituted benzene (toluene) is formed.

Methyl group is extremely reactive. It can exist in the cation form (CH3+), anion form (CH3) or radical form (CH3.). But the reactivity is highly dependent on adjacent substituents. Methyl group can be oxidized to carboxylic groups using a strong oxidizing agent such as potassium permanganate.

Similarities Between Ethyl and Methyl

  • Both are alkyl substituents
  • Both are derived from hydrocarbon compounds
  • Both are saturated groups of atoms
  • Both are composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms only

Difference Between Ethyl and Methyl

Definition

Ethyl: Ethyl group is an alkyl substituent composed of two carbon atoms and five hydrogen atoms.

Methyl: Methyl group is a group of atoms consisting of one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms.

Chemical Formula

Ethyl: The chemical formula of ethyl group is –C2H5

Methyl: The chemical formula of methyl group is –CH3.

Molar Mass

Ethyl: The molar mass of ethyl group is 29 g/mol.

Methyl: The molar mass of methyl group is 15 g/mol.

Formation

Ethyl: Ethyl group is formed from ethane by removing one hydrogen atom.

Methyl: Methyl group is formed from methane by removing one hydrogen atom.

Alkylation

Ethyl: Ethyl groups can take part in ethylation reactions.

Methyl: Methyl groups can take part in methylation reactions.

Conclusion

Ethyl and methyl groups are groups of atoms containing carbon and hydrogen atoms only. They are known as alkyl substituents because they can get attached to other molecules by replacing hydrogen or other atoms. The main difference between ethyl and methyl is that ethyl group is composed of two carbon atoms whereas methyl group is composed of one carbon atom.

Reference:

1. “Friedel-Crafts Alkylation.” Organic Chemistry, .
2. “Ethyl group.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Dec. 2017, .
3. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, “Methyl Definition (Methyl Group).” ThoughtCo, Aug. 16, 2017,

Image Courtesy:

1. “Ethyl group V” By Jü – Own work (Public Domain) via
2. “CytosineMethylation” By Ssridhar17 – Own work via

About the Author: Madhusha

Madhusha is a BSc (Hons) graduate in the field of Biological Sciences and is currently pursuing for her Masters in Industrial and Environmental Chemistry. Her interest areas for writing and research include Biochemistry and Environmental Chemistry.

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