Alcohols in general chemistry-WorldOfChemicals

Role of Alcohol in general chemistry


An alcohol is an organic compound wherein the hydroxyl functional group (–OH) is bound to a saturated carbon atom. For a compound to be an alcohol it must be an oxygen hydrogen group (-OH) or of a hydroxyl group. Alcohol is an organic compound that comes in numerous varied forms or structures. Alcohols can also be considered as organic derivative of water in where one of the hydrogen atoms has been substituted by an alkyl group.

Distinct groups of alcohols.


Methyl alcohol also known as methanol, has a boiling point of 65 degrees Celsius and is combustible. The chemical formula for methanol is CH3OH. Usages for methanol includes manufacturing formaldehyde and acetic acid that in turn is utilized in products like adhesives, foams, plywood subfloors, solvents and windshield washer fluid. It also used for production in gasolines, plastics, and coloring material. Ingestion of methanol is toxic and poisonous.


Ethanol or ethyl alcohol is the alcohol that is often used in drinks. Ethanol is also utilized as a fuel. It burns to form carbon dioxide and water. Ethanol is also used as supplementary product to perfumes and cosmetics. It is extensively used as a solvent and preservative in pharmaceutical industry besides for serving as the chief ingredient in beverages.


Propanol is a colorless liquid produced by oxidation of aliphatic hydrocarbons that is commonly used in solvents and chemical intermediates. It is made naturally in small quantities during the fermentation process. It is used as a solvent in the pharmaceuticals industry for resins and cellulose esters.


Glycerol that may also be known as glycerin is can be seen as a byproduct in the industrial production of soaps. Glycerol is also a trihydroxy sugar alcohol that is used as an intermediate in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. It is utilized as a solvent, emollient or soothing pharmaceutical agent and sweetening agent in perfumes which is not poisonous to humans. It can also be observed in medicines and various food products. It is dense in texture which tastes sweet.


Butanol known as butyl alcohol. Butanol is a four carbon alcohol which is a clear and flammable liquid. It has a strong alcoholic odor which is volatile in nature. Butanol is deliberated as a probable biofuel or butanol fuel. Butanol can also be used for gasoline or petrol in cars. Butanol can further be added to diesel fuel to decrease soot or dust emissions.

Production of alcohols

There are namely 3 methods of producing alcohols

1.Natural Process

Alcohols are made naturally by reduction of methyl esters at high pressure hydrogen.

The catalyst or the substance depleted for the reaction decides the products that is prepared. For example: copper chromite is utilized as a catalyst by an unsaturated methyl ester, hydrogenation of the C=C unsaturation also arises, as a subsequent results in a saturated species alcohol. Though, if a specific catalyst alike aluminum oxide is made use of, the unsaturation will not be affected, which results in an unsaturated alcohol. This is the method used to produce oleyl alcohol.

2.Ziegler process

In Ziegler process, alcohols are yielded from ethylene and triethylaluminium by oxidation and hydrolysis. A perfect synthesis of 1-octanol is below:

Al (C2H5)3 + 9 C2H4 → Al (C8H17)3

Al (C8H17)3 + 3 O + 3 H2O → 3 HOC8H17 + Al (OH) 3

The process produces a variety of alcohols that is detached by distillation. Numerous higher alcohols are generated by hydroformylation of alkenes comprehended by hydrogenation. When applied to an alkene, it obtains a linear alcohol:



Such process provide fatty alcohols, which are used for detergents. uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. X