alcohol

Topics: Alcohol, Ethanol, Methanol Pages: 2 (546 words) Published: November 5, 2013
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxyl functional group (-OH) is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms.[1] An important class of alcohols are the simple acyclic alcohols, the general formula for which is CnH2n+1OH. Of those, ethanol (C2H5OH) is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, and in common speech the word alcohol refers specifically to ethanol. Other alcohols are usually described with a clarifying adjective, as in isopropyl alcohol (propan-2-ol) or wood alcohol (methyl alcohol, or methanol). The suffix -ol appears in the IUPAC chemical name of all substances where the hydroxyl group is the functional group with the highest priority; in substances where a higher priority group is present the prefix hydroxy- will appear in the IUPAC name. The suffix -ol in non-systematic names (such as paracetamol or cholesterol) also typically indicates that the substance includes a hydroxyl functional group and, so, can be termed an alcohol. But many substances, particularly sugars (examples glucose and sucrose) contain hydroxyl functional groups without using the suffix. In everyday life "alcohol" without qualification usually refers to ethanol, or a beverage based on ethanol (as in the term "alcohol abuse"). Alcoholic beverages have been consumed by humans since prehistoric times for a variety of hygienic, dietary, medicinal, religious, and recreational reasons. Primary alcohols (R-CH2-OH) can be oxidized either to aldehydes (R-CHO) (e.g. acetaldehyde) or to carboxylic acids (R-CO2H), while the oxidation of secondary alcohols (R1R2CH-OH) normally terminates at the ketone (R1R2C=O) stage. Tertiary alcohols (R1R2R3C-OH) are resistant to oxidation. Ethanol's toxicity is largely caused by its primary metabolite, acetaldehyde (systematically ethanal)[2][3] and secondary metabolite, acetic acid.[3][4][5][6] All primary alcohols are broken down into...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Averting Alcohol and Drug Abuse through Aversion: Psychology of Learning Essay
  • Essay about ALCOHOLS
  • Essay about Alcohols and Phenols
  • Fermentation of Alcohol Essay
  • Alcohol Combustion Plan Essay
  • Alcohols Lab Essay
  • Dehydration of an Alcohol lab report Essay
  • Essay about Investigation of Combustion of Alcohols

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free