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Alcohol (Ethanol) Chemical and Physical Properties

Chemical Properties of Ethanol

Chemical Formula

Ethanol’s chemical formula is C2H5OH.

Ethanol structural formula

Picture 1. Ethanol structural and molecular formula.
Ethanol, like all alcohols, has an OH (hydroxylic) group
attached to a saturated carbon atom.

Calories

1 gram of ethanol provides 7 Calories (kilocalories) of the “metabolizable energy” or 6.1 Calories of the “net metabolizable energy [7].”

Physical Properties of Ethanol

Appearance, Odor and Taste

At room temperature, ethanol is a clear, colorless, volatile liquid with a characteristic odor. When diluted, it is somewhat sweet, but concentrated alcohol has a strong, burning taste [1].

Solubility

Ethanol is highly soluble in water and organic solvents, but poorly soluble in fats and oils [1].

Density

Density of ethanol at 68 °F (20 °C) is 0.789 g/mL [1].

pH

Pure ethanol is neutral (pH ~7) [2]. Most alcoholic beverages are more or less acidic: table wine pH = 3.3-3.7 [3], beer pH ~ 4 [4].

Boiling Point

Boiling point of ethanol is 173.3 °F (78.5 °C) [1]

Melting Point

Melting point of ethanol is -173.4 °F (-114.1 °C) [1].

Freezing Point

  • Wine (10% alcohol  by volume): 25 °F (-4 °C)
  • Vodka (40% alcohol by volume): -10 °F (-23 °C)
  • Pure alcohol (100% alcohol by volume): -175 °F (-115 °C) [5]

Flash Point

Flash point is the temperature at which ethanol is flammable – can catch fire:

  • Beer (5% alcohol by weight) can catch fire, if ignited, at 144 °F (62 °C),
  • Wine (10% alcohol by weight) at 120 °F (49 °C),
  • Vodka (40% alcohol by weight) at 79 °F (26 °C) [5] and
  • Concentrated alcohol (96% alcohol by weight) can catch fire at 63 °F (17 °C) [5].

15 Responses to "Alcohol (Ethanol) Chemical and Physical Properties"

  1. Owuna Friday Junior says:

    Nice piece and am highly impressed.

    Please can I get more information on the procedures for measuring some of the physicochemical properties?

    • Jan Modric says:

      You may want to search for “alcohol measuring equipment” or so. On the Nutrients Review we covered alcohol mainly from the consumption and nutrient viewpoint.

  2. ife says:

    i need more explanation

  3. please i need to know the real boiling point of ethanol. this is because, my teacher thought me that the boiling point of ethanol is 88 degree centigrade

  4. Abhay Mahajan says:

    please tell me chemical properties of ethanol in points

    • Jan Modric says:

      It’s all above in the article. For your study purposes, this might be better described in your recommended study book.

  5. Jj says:

    Where are the chemical properties please?.

    • Jan Modric says:

      From chemical properties, only the formula is published, because I don’t think that more description is needed for alcohol as a nutrient on this website.

  6. Rizal says:

    How does the ethanol affect on water pH?

  7. Disha says:

    I need more explaination

  8. Maariyah Mohiuddin says:

    How long does it take Ethanol to boil and melt?

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