What is Alcohols: Definition and 27 Discussions

In chemistry, alcohol is an organic compound that carries at least one hydroxyl functional group (−OH) bound to a saturated carbon atom. The term alcohol originally referred to the primary alcohol ethanol (ethyl alcohol), which is used as a drug and is the main alcohol present in alcoholic drinks. An important class of alcohols, of which methanol and ethanol are the simplest members, includes all compounds for which the general formula is CnH2n+1OH. Simple monoalcohols that are the subject of this article include primary (RCH2OH), secondary (R2CHOH) and tertiary (R3COH) alcohols.
The suffix -ol appears in the IUPAC chemical name of all substances where the hydroxyl group is the functional group with the highest priority. When a higher priority group is present in the compound, the prefix hydroxy- is used in its IUPAC name. The suffix -ol in non-IUPAC names (such as paracetamol or cholesterol) also typically indicates that the substance is an alcohol. However, many substances that contain hydroxyl functional groups (particularly sugars, such as glucose and sucrose) have names which include neither the suffix -ol, nor the prefix hydroxy-.

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  1. PhysicsInterest

    Oxidation of tertiary alcohols

    I’m still a relative newbie to chemistry so if this question is very simple to answer I apologise….. but what prevents the oxidation of a tertiary alcohol cause you can form an aldehyde and carboxylic acid from a primary alcohol and a ketone from a secondary but what is it that prevents a...
  2. S

    Chemistry Naming BrCH2CH2CH2OH: Excluding Carbon # for OH Group

    I thought that the compound would be named 2-bromo-propan-1-ol, but the answer sheet says that it is 3-bromopropanol. But don't you have to indicate the position of the OH group with carbon numbers? My textbook says that CH3CH2CH2OH would be named 1-propanol. Here, it seems like the position of...
  3. H

    Easy way to test for Fusel Alcohols in ethanols

    I know fusel alcohol is not an official term, and my chemistry is rusty, but is there an easy way to test for fusel alcohols in a primarily ethanol/water mixture? Basically, any alcohol that isn't ethanol? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusel_alcohol
  4. V

    Dehydration Problem: Solving for the Location of a Double Bond in a Carbocation

    Homework Statement Please see question number 31 http://cms.fiitjee.co/Resources/DownloadCentre/Document_Pdf_183.pdf Homework Equations none The Attempt at a Solution i got up to second step in the solution(scroll downwards) but in the last step a carbocation is formed and double bond can...
  5. Conservation

    Interesting compounds with alcohol functional group

    I'm looking for examples of some interesting compounds that contain alcohol functional group (please, no joke suggestions about various liquor). Bonus points for creativity/thinking-outside-the-box. Thanks.

    Acidity of Alcohols: Understanding the Reaction

    I have read from a book that from the following reaction H2O + R-O- - - - - > R-O-H + O--H We can conclude that water is a better proton donor (Bronsted acid) than alcohol. But how did they conclude so? I can figure out the reason on basis of electronegativity concepts but how to do so from...
  7. M

    Does the smell of alcohols increase as molar mass increases?

    Hello, I was just thinking about the pungent smell of alcohols and if they increase as the molar mass of the alcohol increases. For example, if I were to have samples of methanol, ethanol, propan-1-ol, butan-1-ol, and pentan-1-ol all at room temperature, would the alcohol's with the highest...
  8. G

    Tertiary Alcohols: Can't be Oxidized & Breaking C-C Bonds

    I've learned that tertiary alcohols can't be oxidised because the carbon bearing the OH contains no hydrogen atoms. But why can't the oxygen just take the hydrogen from the OH and another hydrogen from another carbon atom on the molecule? I also read that it would involve breaking a C-C bond...
  9. H

    Why are ketones/aldehydes more oxidized than alcohols?

    I thought that the reason was the presence of a double bond would allow oxygen to exert a stronger pull on the electrons making the co bond as compared to when their was only a double bind between the two but then I remembered that inductance happens only through sigma bonds So why are...
  10. D

    Project on Alcohols: Chemistry & Info

    Hi everybody. I'm doing a project on alcohols that's due tomorrow. I'm really getting into it today. I was wondering if anybody had good links for information about alcohol. Everything I search keeps bringing up drinking alcohol. Even though my focus is on ethanol, I don't want my project...
  11. D

    Primary, secondary, tertiary alcohols

    How do we figure out the class of the alcohol if there is more than one hydroxyl group attached to the main HC chain? For example, I know that CH3 - CH2 - OH is PRIMARY But what about something like OH...OH CH2 - CH - CH2 - CH (The ... is to take up space so that the OH's are on top...
  12. A

    Oxidation of Alcohols (KMnO4) - Preferred Reactions?

    Given that KMnO4 oxidises primary alcohols to aldehydes and secondary alcohols to ketones, and that in a mixture secondary alcohols will oxidise first (correct?). What's the order of preference of primary alcohols that will most readily oxidise first. The highest molecular weight first...
  13. M

    Is there a an equivalent to deliquescence with organic solvents, alcohols, etc?

    This is a matter of some curiosity to me. Deliquescence was often mentioned in chemistry, and I've seen at work, but is this phenomina limited to a few special cases, such as water? Are the intermolecular forces between any organic compounds sufficeint to essentially "drown" the solute in...
  14. C

    Preparation of alkenes from alcohols

    Q. Draw the structure for all possible alkenes & the alcohols from which they can be prepared. CH3-CH=CH-CH2-CH3 <---- CH3-CHOH-CH2-CH2-CH3 CH2=CH-CH2-CH2-CH3 <---- CH2OH-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH3 Both in the presence of H+ & heat. I also drew Cyclopentanol from which we can prepare...
  15. A

    Alcohols and an oxidazing agent

    Question How many alcohols do not react with K_2Cr_2O_7 ? Alcohols have the molecular formula C_4 H_{10} O. Attempt at solution K_2Cr_2O_7 is an oxidazing agent. The tertiary alcohol cannot be oxidised with it, but you can oxidise secondary alcohols (Source...
  16. M

    Alcohols & Ethers: What Are They?

    I'm confused as to what alcohols really are. I keep reading that an alcohol is an "ALKYL" group with a hydroxyl group attached to it but then I see that definition being contradicted by the exact same person that wrote it. The claim its an ALKYL group but they give examples which list...
  17. L

    Melting Points trend for Primary Alcohols

    1. What is the trend of melting points for primary alcohols? I can't understand why melting points dramatically change such as the increase is molecular weight. The melting points doesn't increase nor decrease but they increase and decrease differently when you increase the molecular weight...
  18. M

    Oxidation of secondary alcohols

    [SOLVED] Oxidation of secondary alcohols I need help on the oxidation of alcohols. I want to know if butan-2-ol was partially oxidised would it result in butanone. Also what does the full oxidation of butan-2-ol result in? (I think it is butanoic acid but I am not sure. )
  19. N

    Structural Formulas for all the (C5H11OH) alcohols

    Given: Draw structural formulas for all the alcohols that have the molecular formula C5H11OH. Name each one and classify them as primary, secondary, or tertiary alcohols. Describe how they are formed and give two uses for this type of alcohol. Solution: I am still at the naming portion but...
  20. P

    Organic Chem - Synthesis of alcohols

    After drawing the 8 alcohols with the formula C5H11OH, I'm asked to "Describe how they are formed and give two uses for this type of alcohol." The only example in my text for this is the hydration of an alkene which, at a glance, wouldn't make sense for 2,2-dimethyl 1 propanol. Is this one...
  21. S

    Understanding Dehydration of Alcohols: Common Questions About the Experiment

    I have a question about the general dehydration experiment. Why is the alkene that was distilled from the dehydration reaction washed with a base solution? Is this to neutralize the remaining traces of acid? Thanks.
  22. wasteofo2

    Alcohols + non-organic acids = ?

    Let's say you mixed propanol and HCl, would you just get water and 1-chloro-propane?
  23. B

    What are all the alcohols with that molecular formula?

    What are all the alcohols with that molecular formula?
  24. T

    Balanced Combustion Equations for Alcohols

    I simply want to check that these equations are balanced correctly: 2CH_3OH_{(g)} + 3O_2_{(g)} \rightarrow 2CO_2_{(g)} + 4H_2O_{(l)} CH_3CH_2OH_{(g)} + 3O_2_{(g)} \rightarrow 2CO_2_{(g)} + 3H_2O_{(l)} 2CH_3CH(OH)CH_3_{(g)} + 9O_2_{(g)} \rightarrow 6CO_2_{(g)} + 8H_2O_{(l)}...
  25. wasteofo2

    Sugar alcohols and their effect on your teeth.

    I'm addited to Orbit gum, and they tout it as being good for your teeth. It has no sugar (in the glucose/sucrose sense), but it has "sugar alcohols" listed as the only ingredient of any import. So, are "sugar alcohols" somehow magically sweet and yet not bad for your teeth, or by chewing Orbit...
  26. D

    How Do OH Groups Affect Solubility and What Solvents Clean Paints?

    hi. I am in grade11 chemistry and have a few questions regarding alcohols and solubility in water (polar/non-polar molecules). 1) how does the OH groups in surcrose and glycerin help them to be water soluble? 2) what would you use to clean your hands and the paint brush after painting...
  27. D

    How do the OH groups in sucrose and glycerin aid in their solubility in water?

    hi. I am in grade11 chemistry and have a few questions regarding alcohols and solubility in water (polar/non-polar molecules). 1) how does the OH groups in surcrose and glycerin help them to be water soluble? 2) what would you use to clean your hands and the paint brush after painting...