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Encyclopedia > Grain alcohol
Properties

General

Name Ethanol
Chemical formula C2H5OH
Molecular weight 46.069 amu
CAS number 64-17-5
UN number 1170

Phase behavior

Melting point 158.8 K (-114.3C, -173.83F)
Boiling point 351.5 K (78.4C, 173.03F)
Triple point 159 K (-114C, -173.47F)
Critical point 514 K (241C, 465.53F)


63 bar

ΔfusH 4.9 kJ/mol
ΔfusS 31 J/molK
ΔvapH 38.56 kJ/mol
Solubility Soluble in water

Acid-base properties

pKa 15.9
pH 7.0 (Neutral)

Liquid properties

ΔfH0liquid -277.38 kJ/mol
S0liquid 159.9 J/molK
Cp 112.4 J/molK
Density 789 gram/L

Gas properties

ΔfH0gas -235.3 kJ/mol
S0gas  ? J/molK
Cp 65.21 J/molK

Safety

Acute effects Nausea, vomiting, CNS depression. Respiratory failure in severe cases.
Chronic effects Dependency. Liver cirrhosis.
Flash point 17C (62.6F)
Autoignition temperature 425C (797F)
Explosive limits 3.5-15%

More information

Properties NIST WebBook (http://webbook.nist.gov/cgi/cbook.cgi?ID=C64175&Units=SI)
MSDS Hazardous Chemical Database (http://ull.chemistry.uakron.edu/erd/chemicals1/7/6464.html)

Unless otherwise stated, all data was produced under conditions of standard temperature and pressure.

Disclaimer and references

Ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol or grain alcohol, is a flammable, colorless chemical compound, one of the alcohols that is most often found in alcoholic beverages. In common parlance, it is often referred to simply as alcohol. Its chemical formula is C2H5OH.


This article is mostly about ethanol as a chemical compound. For beverages containing ethanol, see alcoholic beverage. For the use of ethanol as a fuel, see alcohol fuel.

Contents

History

Ethanol has been known to humans since prehistory as the active ingredient of alcoholic beverages. Its isolation as a relatively pure compound was probably achieved first by Islamic alchemists who developed the art of distillation, such as Geber (721-815) and Al-Razi (864-930).


Production

Flamable ethanol in a secure bottle
Enlarge
Flamable ethanol in a secure bottle

Ethanol for use in alcoholic beverages is produced by fermentation: it is a product of sugar metabolism in certain species of yeast in the absence of oxygen. The process of culturing yeast under conditions to produce alcohol is referred to as brewing. Yeasts can grow in the presence of up to only about 14% alcohol, but the concentration of alcohol in the final product can be increased by distillation.


For a mixture of ethanol and water, there is a maximum boiling azeotrope at 95% and 5% water. For this reason, fractional distillation of ethanol-water mixtures (of less than 95% ethanol) cannot yield ethanol purer than 95%. Therefore, 95% ethanol in water is a fairly common solvent.


To produce absolute ethanol, a small amount of benzene is added, and the mixture is again fractionally distilled. Benzene forms a trinary azeotrope with water and ethanol to remove the last of the water, and a binary azeotrope with ethanol removes most of the benzene. The resulting ethanol is water free, for processes that require it. However, several ppm of benzene remains, so consumption by humans leads to distinctive liver damage.


Ethanol is also used as a fuel and in a wide variety of industrial processes. Ethanol for industrial use is often made from petroleum feedstocks, typically by the catalytic hydration of ethylene (Sulphuric acid being the usual catalyst); this is cheaper than the production by fermentation.


Ethanol for industrial use is normally made unfit for human consumption ("denatured") by the inclusion of small amounts of substances that are either toxic (such as methanol) or unpleasant (such as denatonium benzoate), thus avoiding the applicable taxes or inventory controls. Denatured ethanol has the UN number UN 1987 and toxic denatured ethanol has UN 1986.


Use

Ethanol is used in antifreeze products for its low melting point.


It is easily soluble in water and is itself a good solvent, used in perfumes, paints and tinctures. Alcoholic drinks have a large variety of tastes because various flavor compounds are dissolved during brewing.


A solution of 70-85% of ethanol is commonly used as a disinfectant. It kills organisms by denaturing their proteins and dissolving their lipids and is effective against most bacteria and fungi, and many viruses, but is ineffective against bacterial spores. Because of this disinfectant property, alcoholic beverages can be stored for a long time.


See also

External links

  • Alcohol in Arabic sources (http://www.gabarin.com/ayh/alcohol.htm) (Geber but no mention of Al-Razi).

  Results from FactBites:
 
grain alcohol - definition of grain alcohol in Encyclopedia (541 words)
Ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol or grain alcohol, is a flammable, colorless chemical compound, one of the alcohols that is most often found in alcoholic beverages.
Ethanol for use in alcoholic beverages is produced by fermentation: it is a product of sugar metabolism in certain species of yeast in the absence of oxygen.
Alcoholic drinks have a large variety of tastes because various flavor compounds are dissolved during brewing.
Ethanol (730 words)
The chemical compound ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol, is the bio-alcohol found in alcoholic beverages.
Alcoholic drinks have a large variety of tastes, since various flavor compounds are dissolved during brewing.
A solution of 70-85% of ethanol is commonly used as a disinfectant; it kills organisms by denaturing their proteins and dissolving their lipids: it is effective against most bacteria and fungi, and many viruses, but is ineffective against bacterial spores.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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