Ethanol – Physical properties, Uses



Physical properties:

  • Ethanol is a colourless liquid having a pleasant smell and a burning taste
  • It is a volatile liquid having a low boiling point of 78o C (351 K)
  • It is miscible with water in all proportions
  • Ethanol does not contain any ions, as it is a covalent compound and has no effect on litmus paper
  • The boiling point of alcohols are, in general, much higher than the corresponding alkanes. This is because in alcohols there is intermolecular association of a large number of molecules due to Hydrogen bonding which is absent in alkanes


Ethanol is used:

  • in the manufacture of paints, varnishes, lacquers and medicines
  • in the preparation of organic compounds like ether, chloroform and iodoform

  • as an antiseptic to sterilise wounds and syringes in hospitals and dispensaries
  • in alcoholic drinks (beverages) like whisky, wine, beer and other liquors. Beer contains around 3 to 6% ethanol, whisky contains 30% ethanol and wine contains 8 to 10% ethanol
  • in spirit lamps as methylated spirit (contains ethanol mixed with a small amount of methanol and water)
  • as power alcohol to generate power in internal combustion engines. Power alcohol is a mixture of 25% absolute alcohol and 75% petrol and it is a good fuel for motor cars. In the present days, due to scarcity of petrol and petroleum products, power alcohol can be used as a substitute for petrol in motor cars which may also reduce pollution of air




One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Dr. Bhavanishankar T N on November 27, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Ethanol burns with a blue flame which hardly visible in normal light. It is a versatile solvent miscible with various other organic solvents.
    Whisky contains 30 to 45% ethanol, wine contains 8 to 16% ethanol. Fortified wines contain upto 20% ethanol.
    Petrol-Ethanol mixture is also called Gasohol.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: