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Dimethyl sulfone is used as a high-temperature solvent for both inorganic and organic substances. It acts as an intermediate as well as medium in organic synthesis. It plays an important role as a carbon source by the airborne bacteria Afipia. It is also employed as an extraction solvent for the separation of aromatic compounds like benzene, toluene and xylenes from aliphatic hydrocarbons. Further, it is used in the polymerization process. It finds application in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, paint and coating materials.
Deprotonation with NaH, followed by reaction with esters, gives ß-keto sulfones which can be reductively cleaved with Cr(II) or Zn/AcOH: Coll. Czech. Chem. Commun., 39, 1216 (1974):
Hofmann, A.; Hanemann, T. Novel electrolyte mixtures based on dimethyl sulfone, ethylene carbonate and LiPF6 for lithium-ion batteries. J. Power Sources 2015, 298, 322-330.
Pan, H.; Yang, J.; Wang, S.; Xiong, Z.; Cai, W.; Liu, J. Facile fabrication of porous carbon nanofibers by electrospun PAN/dimethyl sulfone for capacitive deionization. J. Mater. Chem. A 2015, 3 (26), 13827-13834.