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Ethanol model.pngEthanol figure.png
Systematic name Ethanol
Other names Ethyl Alcohol,Grain Alcohol
Molecular formula C2H6O
Molar mass Molar mass::46.06844 g/mol
Appearance Clear odorless liquid
CAS number CAS number::64-17-5
Density and phase Density::.8 g/m³, liquid
Solubility in water Negligible
Melting point Melting point::-114°C
Boiling point Boiling point::78°C
Acidity (pKa) 16
Basicity (pKb) -1.9
Viscosity 0.0012 Pa.s at 20°C
Molecular shape Tetrahedral and bent
Dipole moment 1.69D
MSDS [1]
Main hazards Highly flammable
NFPA 704

NFPA 704 svg.png

Flash point 14°C
R/S statement R: R11
RTECS number KQ6300000
Related compounds
Related compounds


Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Disclaimer and references

Ethanol is an organic alcohol that is mainly used as a fuel or in alcoholic beverages. It is also commonly known as Ethyl Alcohol or Grain Alcohol. Ethanol is highly flammable with clear and odorless appearance. It has a molecular formula of C2H6O and is a solute that combines well with other elements as well as other compounds. Ethanol is formed with 95 percent alcohol and 5 percent water. This compounds naturally derives from sugars and yeasts and can produce many other types of ethanol through distillation. Ethanol can be harmful in some usages but is a great solute that people need in modern days. [1]


Ethanol, often called ethyl alcohol is used as a primary alcohol and consist of mainly water and alcohol. Ethanol consist of 5 percent of water and 95 percent alcohol. When ethanol consist of no water and contains 100 percent alcohol it is called absolute ethanol. [1] Ethanol has a low boiling point of 78 degrees Celsius and melting point of -114 degrees Celsius. It is a volatile, colorless liquid with a burning taste and has an alcoholic and pleasant smell. Ethanol has a density of .789 g/ml which is lighter than water. [2] The chemical properties of ethanol are formed by the element ethene which is known as C2H4 . Ethanol turns of pale blue when they are burnt and they form water and carbon dioxide.[1]Ethanol cannot be fully obtained with a simple distillation. Although with process of combining benzene to ethanol can form absolute ethanol, the process can be poisonous due to the left over of benzene.[3]


Mill Processing of Sugarcane Ethanol Production

Ethanol is a natural compound that comes from the fermentation of sugars by yeasts.[4] In the U.S Ethanol is produced mostly through corn. It is produced by wet or dry mill processing. Milling processes the crop and ferment it into ethanol with flour or breaks up the protein and starch in the corn to produce ethanol. These occurrence are based on sugar and starch. Although it's not commonly done ethanol also have cellulosic feedstock's which are to not used in any of the crop but use wood to make ethanol instead. There are two ways to make ethanol by cellulosic productions which are the thermochemical and biochemical ways. Both of these ways require wood or grass to produce ethanol. The cellulosic productions are more challenging than using the starch and sugar based productions. [5]


Ethanol Fuel


Ethanol can be useful for many purposes. Most ethanol compounds are used for fuel or alcoholic beverages. Ethanol fuel can be another source for motor fuel and gasoline. It can be with other fuels to serve as gasoline. There are cars that run fully with ethanol or mixtures of ethanol. [6] Some cars that are flexible fuel vehicles can fully run with mixture of gasoline and hydrated ethanol if they have at least 20 % ethanol in the gasoline. Ethanol is useful in that it can be mixed with water and other solvents. There are also many types of ethanol like anhydrous ethanol which is 95% ethanol and 5% water, that can be combined with water and help the environment by reducing air pollution. Not only in U.S they use ethanol as a fuel but in Brazil ethanol is mixed in the petrol as they are capable to run on compounds that are mixed with ethanol and water and as well as hydrated ethanol. In Brazil ethanol is mainly produced from sugar crops but in United States ethanol are mainly made from corn crops. [7]

Alcoholic Beverages and Other Uses

Another main use for ethanol is human consumption in alcohol beverages. Ethanol alcohol is often called ethyl or grain alcohol. Ethanol alcohol is also used in perfume, cologne, hairspray, or for medical use.[8] Ethanol is also largely used in pharmaceuticals. Such as cough drops and iodine solutions. Ethanol once again is a very useful compound because it's a solvent and can be mixed with other various elements. Therefore many pharmacist can use ethanol for tablets, pills, vitamins, and antibiotics. Ethanol alcohol is also used in many house hold cleaning products , a disinfection spray bottle contain more than half of ethanol for cleaning objects. Also ethanol can be used in substances such as paint and lacquer and sometimes even food products that we consume like flavorings, extracts, and glazes. [9]

Chemical Manufacturing

Ethanol can be changed into two chemical compounds when it is oxidised. With sodium dichromate, potassium dichromate and potassium permanganate ethanol can form acetaldehyde (or ethanal). If ethanal is discovered further it can also be found as ethanoic acid which are also commonly called acetic acid.[1]

Ethanol as a compound can be very useful as a chemical substance.[4] Ethanol can be converted as esters and chloride as a chemical compound. It has the capability to react with very high temperatures and form oxygen and hydrogen easily. [1] When ethanol is combined with sulphuric acid, ethylene is made. This concept is known as the dehydration of Ethanol and can be made only when its heated to 170 degrees Celsius. Also when its mixed with sulphuric acid at 140 degrees Celsius it forms diethyl. Ethanol reacts with sodium and forms sodium ethoxide due to replacing a sodium atom. Ethanol can be formed and reacted with many different compounds and elements including phosphorus pentachloride to make hydrogen chloride, phosphoryl chloride, and ethyl chloride. [4]

History of Ethanol

Henry Ford automobile who used pure ethanol to run their cars.

Ethanol is used in many areas for different purposes. The history of ethanol goes back further then we know in modern days. The ethanol that is now made into fuel was started early with the fermentation of sugar. People found that ethanol can also be obtained through distillation and fermentation. [10]Through these steps they could develop a higher volume of alcohol and they could also find freeze distillation. In 1976 Johann Tobias Lowitz discovered pure ethanol by distilled process. He discovered that Ethanol is made with hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. Later in the 19th century Nicolas-Théodore de Saussure found the chemical formula for ethanol.[11] In 1850 in the US produced almost 90 million gallons of ethanol every year. They were used mainly for fuel production and alcoholic beverages. Then in 1862 tax had made ethanol more expensive and made it hard for people to buy them. [10]In 1896 Ethanol first was used in automobiles. Henry Ford used pure ethanol to run his cars than later used mixture of ethanol to run his cars. When the Prohibition was enacted in 1919 the denaturing process was made and ethanol was very harmful that they were poisonous and people could not drink them. But Prohibition ended in 1933 and once again ethanol production increased to meet the requirements of many people during the World War II. After World War II farmers started to make crops to gain ethanol. Now Ethanol plants are made still for the usage of fuel and many other products and is mainly produced in the Midwest obtaining about 5 billion gallons. [11]


How Ethanol is made.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The properties of Ethanol wisegeek. Web. Accessed February 21, 2012 Author unknown..
  2. Physical properties wordpress. Web. September 17, 2011 Author unknown..
  3. Ethanol infoplease. Web. September 17, 2011 Author unknown..
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Ethanol Icb. Web. Accessed February 26, 2012 Author unknown..
  5. Ethanol Production and Distribution Afdc. Web. Accessed February 26, 2013 Author unknown..
  6. Ethanol Fuel Science Daily. Web. Accessed March 17, 2013 Author unknown..
  7. Ethanol RSC. Web. Accessed March 17, 2013 Author unknown..
  8. What is Ethanol Alcohol WiseGeek. Web. Accessed March 17, 2013 Author unknown..
  9. Ethanol Uses Ethanol. Web. Accessed March 17, 2013 Author unknown..
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ethanol History Ethanol History. Web. Accessed March 17, 2013 Author unknown..
  11. 11.0 11.1 The History of Ethanol in America clover. Web. Accessed March 17, 2013 Author unknown..