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Difference Between Ethanol and Alcohol

ethanol-methanolEthanol vs Alcohol

Ethanol and alcohol are the same, and they have the same physical and chemical properties. Ethanol is a type of alcohol, and the two are formed by the fermentation of glucose by enzymes in yeast.

Alcohol is any chemical having a ‘“ OH functional group. Alcohols are generally classified into three groups, based on the number of carbon atoms that link to the carbon atom that bears the hydroxyl group. The three groups are primary, secondary and tertiary. The primary groups have the formula of RCH2OH, the secondary RR’CHOH and the tertiary has the formula of RR’R”COH, where R stands for alkyl groups.

Ethanol belongs to the primary group of alcohol. Ethanol is the only type of alcohol that can be consumed. The other types of alcohol include methyl alcohol, rubbing alcohol and butanol.

Some alcohols are soluble in water and some others are not. Alcohol with four or less carbon chain are soluble in water, and those with five or more carbons are not. Ethanol, Methanol and Propanol are some of the alcohols that are soluble in water, whereas Pentanol is not soluble. Alcohol has a high boiling point, and also shows either acidic or alkaline properties.

Alcohol has been in use for many centuries, and ethanol has been in use from the ninth century, when the Persians Arabs first distilled it.

Both alcohol and ethanol are used in many ways. Some alcohols, especially ethanol, are used as a beverage. Other types like ethyl alcohol and methyl alcohol are used as fuel, and are used in many ways for industrial purposes. Ethanol is aso used as a solvent in perfumes, drugs and vegetable essences. Ethanol is also used as an antiseptic.

Summary:

1. Ethanol is a type of alcohol, and the two are formed by the fermentation of glucose by enzymes in yeast.
2. Alcohols are generally classified into primary, secondary and tertiary groups. Ethanol belongs to the primary group of alcohol.
3. Ethanol is the only type of alcohol that can be consumed.
4. Some alcohols are soluble in water and some others are not. Ethanol is soluble in water.
5. Alcohol has a high boiling point, and also shows either acidic or alkaline properties.
6. Alcohol has been in use for many centuries, and ethanol has been in use from the ninth century, when the Arabs first distilled it.


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4 Comments

  1. It wasn’t Arabs actually, it was the Persians, Al Razi or Rhazes was Persian, Not Arab. Big Distinction ( not that anyone expects Americans to know much about history of the Middle East). Aside from that, the oldest wine jar has also been found in Persia around 6000 BC.

  2. I agree with Sara. It was an Iranian/Persian who distilled the Ethanol from wine in the 9th century. His name was Muhammad Zakariya Razi who was born in Ray, near present-day Tehran. This was about the time as Arabs ruled Iran/Persia after invasion of Islam. That is why the Europeans assumed Iranians as Arabs while they translated their work in Latin in 11th and 12th century. Again, Razi was an Iranian/Persian polymath. A physician, philosopher, alchemist, musician, and mathematician. A “google” for his name would clarify your mind.

  3. peace of you>>
    i think you know that he is muslim..
    and we always say about these sceintifics is muslims,, NOT arabs..

  4. It is present in Vanilla extract. We use that for making cakes. But does that mean all cakes include alcohol ?

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