In chemistry, alcohol is a general term which refers to many organic compounds used in industry and science as reagents, solvents, and fuels. Alcohols are carbohydrates which are made of an alkyl group with one or more hydroxyl (-OH) groups bound to its carbon atoms. Alcohol is colorless, and also transparent.
Names for alcohol[change | change source]
There are two ways of naming alcohols: Common names, and IUPAC names.
- Common names often are made by taking the name of the alkyl group, and adding the word "alcohol". For example, "methyl alcohol" or "ethyl alcohol".
- IUPAC names are made by taking the name of the alkane chain, removing the last "e", and adding "ol". Examples of this are "methanol" and "ethanol".
Physical and chemical properties[change | change source]
Common alcohols[change | change source]
In common usage, "alcohol" often means ethanol or "grain alcohol". (See also: alcoholic proof).
Other commonly used alcohols include:
- Isopropyl alcohol (sec-propyl alcohol, propan-2-ol, 2-propanol) H3C-CH(OH)-CH3, or "rubbing alcohol"
- ethylene glycol (ethane-1,2-diol) HO-CH2-CH2-OH, which is the main substance in antifreeze
- glycerin (or glycerol, propane-1,2,3-triol) HO-CH2-CH(OH)-CH2-OH bound in natural fats and oils, which are triglycerides (triacylglycerols)
- Phenol, an alcohol where the hydroxyl group is bound to a benzene ring.
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