What are the basic alcohols used in day to day activities?

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Alcohols are considered to be the most commonly occurring organic compounds. Alcohols are the group of organic compounds that are distinguished by the presence of one or more hydroxyl groups (−OH) that are attached to the carbon atom present in an alkyl group or hydrocarbon chain. In our day to day activities, we use a wide variety of alcohol in some way or the other. In this article, we will know more about the types of alcohol we come across on a daily basis.

There are various types of alcohols depending upon the structure, composition and number of atoms present in them. Each alcoholic substance stands unique in its nature, properties and applications.

Propyl alcohol

Propyl alcohol is one of the most common types of alcohol. It has the formula CH3CH2CH2OH. The compound propyl alcohol is commonly referred to as  Propane-1-ol, n-propyl alcohol, 1-propyl alcohol, or propanol. It can be synthesised by using methanol (methyl alcohol) from carbon monoxide and hydrogen which produces propyl alcohol as a by-product. The major uses of propyl alcohol are listed below

  • It is utilised by many pharmaceuticals in drug development.
  • Also used as polishes, pigments, intermediates, dye solutions.
  • It is mainly used on the skin as it is not irritative and is also used by dentists for applying dental lotions after tooth surgery.
  • We can see its application in the paint industry as well for coatings, varnishing, polishing etc.

Ethyl alcohol

Ethyl alcohol is one of the most common types of alcohol. It has the formula CH3CH2OH. The compound propyl alcohol is commonly referred to as Ethanol, ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, or alcohol. It can be synthesised by the hydration of ethylene and also by fermentation of a bio-molecule called carbohydrate. The reactions of ethanolare with a wide range of substances like sodium, unsaturated hydrocarbons. The major uses of ethyl alcohol are listed below

  • It is utilised by many pharmaceuticals for the production of medicines.
  • It is used in personal care and beauty products.
  • It is used as cleaning and polishing care products for furniture.
  • It is used in air purifiers such as a room freshener, car perfumes etc.

Methyl alcohol

Methyl alcohol is one of the most common types of alcohol. It has the formula CH3OH. The compound propyl alcohol is commonly referred to as  It is also known as Wood alcohol or Methanol. It can be synthesised by the combination of carbon monoxide gas and hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst. The major uses of methyl alcohol are listed below

  • It is utilised in the manufacture of acetic acid and formaldehyde.
  • It is used in the water purification process in wastewater plants.
  • It is majorly used as a fuel for internal combustion engines
  • It is utilized as an antifreeze agent.

Alcohol is the important class of compounds in organic chemistry as it has a wide variety of applications and is used as a solvent in most of the laboratory experiments and procedures. Alcohols are very volatile substances, hence they need proper packaging and must be handled with care while working in labs.

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