Alcohols. Application and formulas

Alcohols are organic compounds that contain one or more hydroxyl groups linked to a carbon atom in sp3 hybridization. The simplest alcohols are methanol and ethanol. What is the division of alcohols? Explore the patterns.

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1. What are alcohols?

Alcohols are organic compounds that contain one or more hydroxyl groups linked to a carbon atom in sp3 hybridization.Using colloquial language, the word "alcohol" is interpreted slightly differently - it refers to an alcoholic drink (containing alcohol) or ethyl alcohol (ethanol).

In everyday life, the most common are alcohols containing one hydroxyl group in the molecule, derivatives of alkanes, which can be described by the following general formula: CₙH2ₙ + 1OH; these are so-called monohydric alcohols.

Examples of monohydric alcohols are ethyl, methyl and propyl alcohol. There are also analogous organic compounds which have a hydroxyl group linked to carbon in sp2 hybridization.

These are compounds such as phenols (hydroxyl derivatives of benzene as well as other aromatic compounds) or enols (hydroxyl derivatives of alkenes).

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2. Classification of alcohols

The most common division of alcohols is based on the number of hydroxyl groups. There is a division into monohydric alcohols and polyhydric alcohols, which include sucrroles and diols.

As for monohydric alcohols, they are:

  • alkanols (e.g. ethanol);
  • alkenols (e.g., allyl alcohol);
  • cyclic alcohols (e.g. cyclohexanol);
  • alkynols (e.g. propargyl alcohol);
  • aromatic alcohols (e.g. benzyl alcohol).

The latter group of alcohols have a different structure than the rest, due to the ring they have.

In addition, there is also a division in terms of the type of chain - it concerns the division into saturated and unsaturated alcohols.

3. Alcohols - application

The simplest of alcohols is methanol, which is a dangerous poison, very harmful, among others. on the nervous system. Methanol poisoning can lead to blindness. Methanol is quite similar in properties to ethanol (ethyl alcohol). They both have a similar taste, smell and appearance.

Both methanol and ethanol are very often used in industry. They are used, for example, as solvents and raw materials in organic synthesis.

Methanol is used in the production of methanal (formaldehyde), various plastics, dyes, medicines and plant protection products.

Ethanol is used as a solvent in various industries - especially in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, perfume and food industries. It is also used as a component of ethanolised gasolines.

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4. Alcohols - patterns

The general formula of monohydric alcohols can be written as follows:

R - OH.

Alcohols have names that consist of one or two words. If an alcohol is a derivative of an alkane, its name is derived from the name of the alkane with the same number of carbon atoms in the molecule. This name is created after adding the appropriate ending - ol to it. For example, methanol, a derivative of methane, ethanol - a derivative of ethane.

Two-part names for alcohols also arise according to a certain principle. The name of the corresponding hydrocarbon is added to the word alcohol and at the same time the ending is changed from "- an" to "- yl", thus forming the name methyl alcohol.

C₂ H (₂ₙ + ₂)

The general formula of monohydric alcohols can be created by replacing one hydrogen atom in alkanes with a functional group - OH

C.n H.(₂ₙ + ₁) OH


  • Methanol (methyl alcohol) has the formulas CH₃ OH, CH₃-OH;
  • Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) has the formulas C₂ H₅ OH, CH₃-CH₂-OH;
  • Propanol (popyl alcohol) has the formulas C₃ H₇ OH, CH₃-CH₂-CH₂-OH;
  • Butanol (butyl alcohol) has the formulas C₄ H₉ OH, CH₃-CH₂-CH₂-CH₂-OH.
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