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Chlorine (bleach) and alcohol (ethanol?).

  1. Apr 28, 2012 #1
    I recently saw a few videos on Youtube of people making a reaction by putting chlorine and alcohol together in a bottle. For the life of me I can't figure out why that reaction would work, and I wondered if anybody could give me an equation. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2012 #2
    I'm guessing that hypochlorite oxidizes alcohol yielding carboxylic acid and chlorine gas.
     
  4. Apr 30, 2012 #3

    Borek

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    If there is chlorine in products there was no oxidation.
     
  5. Apr 30, 2012 #4
    Chlorine had an oxidation state of +1 before the reaction. Afterwards, it is 0. Chlorine gains an electron in the reaction and thus it oxidizes something.
     
  6. Apr 30, 2012 #5

    Borek

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    Original question called for the presence of chlorine, not hypochlorite.
     
  7. Apr 30, 2012 #6
    I was guessing that the original question (and the Youtube videos) referred to chlorine as household bleach.
     
  8. Apr 30, 2012 #7

    Borek

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    And it is quite possible you were right, I was just nitpicking :tongue2:
     
  9. May 2, 2012 #8
    Hmm. Thanks guys. I don't know if it was bleach or not, but I'm pretty confident it wasn't plain old Cl2. ;)
     
  10. May 2, 2012 #9

    chemisttree

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    I believe it was calcium hypochlorite tablets or granules. Pretty concentrated hypochlorite. Household bleach is only about 5-6% hypochlorite in solution. The tablets are something like 70% active chlorine so they are a lot more reactive than bleach when heated. The heat is the thing that releases the chlorine rapidly. Once the reaction starts, the tablets heat up, decompose, produce lots of heat and gaseous products (like chlorine). It's autocatalytic with respect to heat and the decomposition product, chlorine, is quite reactive with hot isopropanol.

    Edit: If you are interested in the mechanism or products produced, review "Haloform Reaction". Great Google term.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
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