An Overview Of The Chemical Substance Called Propan-2-Ol

Propan-2-ol is a chemical that is also known as isopropanol and commonly called isopropyl alcohol. It is a common solvent and can dissolve a variety of materials like resins, gums, alkaloid compounds, and oils. It is also a precursor chemical for acetone, glycerol, and isopropyl acetate. Indeed, it has various industrial uses from being a dehydrating agent to a preservative. The chemical formula is C3H8O which is also the same formula as propanol, but isopropanol comes with a different molecular structure, hence the name 2-propanol (another name for it).
The substance generally occurs in liquid form as it stays in liquid phase at room temperature. As a liquid, it is a colorless liquid with a strong odor somewhere between acetone and ethanol. Generally, it is stable and does not react with many substances and metals but may react with oxygen to Successful Business Examples form peroxide compounds. Isopropyl alcohol may ignite when exposed to air. While it is usually found as an antiseptic solution used in homes, too much inhalation of its vapor can cause health problems and there have been studies showing that molecules of this alcohol can seep through the skin.
Synthesis
There are two main components in the production of this type of alcohol and these are water and propylene (propene). These substances are combined in a process called hydration and reactions take place to bond water molecules (H2O) to propylene molecules (C3H6) creating a new compound C3H7OH (isopropyl alcohol). There are two methods involved here, namely direct and indirect method.
Direct Hydration
High grade propylene and water are used with the presence of a solid acid catalyst. Heat and pressure may be applied to the mixture in industrial manufacturing of the substance. The procedure yields waste byproducts that should be removed.
Indirect Hydration Keys To A Successful Business
The indirect method still uses propylene and water but this time the former is mixed with sulfuric acid. This results in formation of sulfate esters which are then mixed with water and the mixture undergoes hydrolysis. Water molecules break down and isopropyl alcohol molecules form. Waste byproducts also form in this reaction. Manufacturers rely on distillation to refine isopropyl alcohol. High grade isopropyl alcohol can only be obtained through advanced distillation procedures.
Uses
Isopropryl alcohol is considered to be one of the most important chemicals because it is used in making a wide array of other chemical products and is a component in making various materials. However, its popular usage is as a cleaning solution. It is widely used in homes as an antiseptic and thus is known as rubbing alcohol.
Disinfectant/Antiseptic
Rubbing alcohol contains about 70% isopropyl and the rest is water. It is still being used as a home antiseptic with its ability to kill bacteria and viruses. It used to clean wounds and cuts. But some countries use ethyl alcohol. It can also be used to disinfect surfaces and is used to clean materials. The highly concentrated solutions are used in preserving specimens.
Industrial Uses
The non-medical use of isopropanol is also immense. Aside from being used as a cleaning agent, it is also used as fuel additive and an antifreeze. Isopropyl alcohol has a very low freezing point and can be mixed with water so it binds with gasoline in fuel tanks to prevent water from freezing during extremely cold weather. De-icing agents contain isopropyl alcohol and is used to de-ice windshields during winter.
Dangers
Isopropyl alcohol may share the same characteristics as ethyl alcohol which is also used as home antiseptic and is found in alcoholic beverages. However, isopropyl alcohol is much more toxic than ethyl alcohol when ingested. It can produce the same symptoms as alcohol intoxication but on a more serious scale. This chemical quickly burns the gastrointestinal tract and can be fatal. This chemical is also flammable and must not used near sources of flame.

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