Ethanol (C2H5OH) is a colorless, volatile liquid that is miscible with water. It used to be known simply as alcohol, which originally comes from an Arabic word and over time evolved to indicate ‘purity of highest degree.’
Naturally-occurring ethanol is produced by fermentation of sugar or starch. Industrial production is based primarily on catalytic hydration of ethylene. Ethanol vapor forms an explosive and flammable mixture with air at low to medium concentrations. It is toxic if ingested in large quantities.
Ethanol has widespread use as a solvent, and as a raw material in the organic synthesis of dyes, pharmaceuticals, detergents, cosmetics, ethylamines, ethylacrylate and ethylacetate.
Some of the physical properties of ethanol are:
|Molecular weight: 46.1||Critical temperature: 516.25 K|
|Melting point: 158.65 K||Critical pressure: 6.390 MPa|
|Normal boiling point: 351.45 K||Critical density: 280 kg/m3|
Beaton, C. F. and Hewitt, G. F. (1989) Physical Property Data for the Design Engineer, Hemisphere Publishing Corporation, New York. DOI: 10.1016/0300-9467(89)80011-5