Structure and Uses of Alcohols

Structure and Uses of Alcohols


• Structure and uses of important compounds

Learning Objectives

At the end of this lecture, student will be able to

• Write the structure and uses of alcohols

Ethyl alcohol

Structure of Ethyl alcohol

• Also called ethanol/ EtOH

Uses of Ethyl alcohol

• Antiseptic, methanol poisoning

• Good solvent in chemistry


Structure of Chlorobutanol

• IUPAC- trichloro-2-methyl-2-propanol

Uses of Chlorobutanol

• Sedative, hypnotic

• Preservative

• Weak local anaesthetic

• Antibacterial and antifungal

Cetosteryl alcohol

Structure of Cetosteryl alcohol

• Where n is ~14-16

• Also called as Cetostearyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol or cetylstearyl alcohol, mixture of fatty alcohols

• Predominantly of cetyl (C16) and stearyl alcohols (C18)

Uses of Cetosteryl alcohol

• Emulsion stabilizer, opacifying agent, and foam boosting surfactant, viscosity increasing agent, emollient

Benzyl alcohol

Structure of Benzyl alcohol

• Abbreviated as BnOH

Uses of Benzyl alcohol

• Solvent for inks, waxes, paints, resins

• Precursor for esters in soap, perfume and flavor industries

• 10% concentration- local anesthetic and antimicrobial

• Insect repellant

• Approved by USFDA- 5% soln. as bacteriostatic preservative


Structure of Glycerol 

• Simple polyol compound- glycerine

Uses of Glycerol 

• Food industry- sweetener

• Pharmaceutical- humectant, to improve smoothness, lubricant

• Laxative- suppository

Propylene glycol

Structure of Propylene glycol

• IUPAC- propane-1,2-diol

Uses of Propylene glycol

• Production of polymers

• Humectant, good solvent

• In various edible items (food industry)


• Structures of different alcohols were studied

• Benzyl alcohol is insect repellent

• Propylene glycol is Humectant, good solvent

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