Preparation, Properties and Uses of Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl Alcohol also called isopropanol or 2-propanol is a colorless, flammable chemical compound with a strong odor.

Formula For Isopropyl Alcohol:
The chemical formula for isopropyl alcohol is CH3CHOHCH3 or C3H8O. This formula means there are 3 atoms of carbon, 8 atoms of hydrogen and 1 oxygen.

Properties Of Isopropyl Alcohol:
– Boiling Point:
The boiling point of Isopropyl Alcohol is 82.6 °C (180.7 °F; 355.8 K).

– Melting Point: The melting point of Isopropyl Alcohol is −89 °C (−128 °F; 184 K).

– Molar mass:
The molar mass of isopropyl alcohol is 60.096 g·mol−1.

– Solubility: Miscible with benzene, ethanol, chloroform, ether, glycerine; soluble in acetone.

– Solubility in water: Isopropyl Alcohol is miscible with water.

– Density:
The density of isopropyl alcohol is 0.786 g/cm3(20 °C).

– Refractive index: The refractive index of Isopropyl Alcohol is 1.3776.

– Appearance:
Isopropyl Alcohol is a colorless liquid.

– Odor:
Isopropyl Alcohol has a pungent alcoholic odor.

– IUPAC Name:
The preferred IUPAC Name of Isopropyl Alcohol is

– Other names:
Here are the other names of isopropyl alcohol:
– Isopropanol
– Rubbing Alcohol
– Sec-Propyl alcohol
– i-PrOH
– Dimethyl carbinol

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Viscosity: The viscosity of Isopropyl Alcohol is :
2.86 cP at 15 °C
1.96 cP at 25 °C
1.77 cP at 30 °C

[a] Carbon
[b] Hydrogen
[c] Oxygen

Production of Isopropyl Alcohol:

When producing IPA, two commercial methods are used. One method is based on indirect hydration of refinery-grade propylene using sulphuric acid to form isopropyl sulphate which is then hydrolysed with steam to form sulphuric acid and IPA. The raw/ unprocessed IPA is distilled to the desired purity.

The second process is the direct hydration of chemical grade propylene without the need for sulphuric acid. Water and propylene are heated and it’s mixture(a liquid-vapor mixture) is under pressure as it passes into a trickle flow reactor containing sulphonated polystyrene cation ion exchange resins. Alternatively, the reaction can take place in the gas phase over a phosphoric acid-based fixed bed catalyst. There is also a liquid phase route that makes use of a soluble tungsten catalyst. Isopropyl Alcohol is gotten from the aqueous solution by distillation.

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A very small amount of IPA is gotten from the hydrogenation of acetone in the liquid phase. This method is only favorable where excess acetone is available.

Uses Of Isopropyl Alcohol:

1. Isopropyl alcohol kills or help prevent the growth of bacteria on the skin.

2. Isopropyl alcohol topical is used on the skin to help prevent bacterial skin infections from cuts or scrapes. Isopropyl alcohol is used in hospitals to prevent infection that may be caused by needle punctures.

3. Isopropyl alcohol is applied to the skin as rub to help relieve minor muscle pain.

4. Isopropyl alcohol is also used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Isopropyl Alcohol:

45 thousand metric tons of isopropyl alcohol was used 1990 in the United States. Isopropyl Alcohol or rubbing alcohol is a structural isomer of 1-propanol, it is widely used both in industrial and household activities. It is a present element in chemicals such as antiseptics, disinfectants, and detergents. According to the percentage of alcohol, Isopropyl alcohol is found as 99 Isopropyl Alcohol, 91 Isopropyl Alcohol and 70 Isopropyl Alcohol. Each percentage of Isopropyl alcohol known has its unique features and its advantages.

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Advantages of Isopropyl Alcohol:

Here are some important advantages of Isopropyl Alcohol:
1. Isopropyl Alcohol acts as a good solving agent, it is a perfect cleansing agent. It is used for cleaning surfaces like computer screens and dry erase board.

2. Isopropyl Alcohol is an excellent disinfectant, it is used to make hand sanitizers, alcohol pads, and alcohol swabs to clean cuts and wounds, and then disinfect them so they don’t grow infected.

3. It is often used in DNA extraction. When added to a DNA solution it precipitates the DNA which then forms a pellet after centrifugation.


Some disadvantages of Isopropyl Alcohol:
1. Isopropyl Alcohol is not for suitable for internal wounds or consumption.

2. Isopropyl Alcohol should be used in a place that is well-ventilated due to inhalation hazards.

3. Isopropyl Alcohol is highly flammable and should be stored away from heat and open flame.