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Ethanol or Ethyl Alcohol Essay

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Ethanol, or Ethyl Alcohol is a clear, colorless liquid that has a wine-like smell. As one of its names suggest, it is a hydrocarbon that belongs to the Alcohol functional group; a complete, saturated hydrocarbon consists of Carbons and Hydrogen, but in an alcohol one or more of the hydrogen get replaced with a hydroxyl or alcohol group (-OH). This is demonstrated in Ethanol’s chemical formula: C2H5OH; a hydrogen in the original hydrocarbon, Ethane (C2H6), was replaced with a hydroxyl group to form Ethanol. This type of alcohol has a wide variety of uses and purposes, although, as typical for many substances, there are some disadvantages to using or even just having ethanol around.
Ethanol is used as an ingredient in many different substances, but first it has to be made. There are two different processes by which Ethanol can be created, the most common way is through combining the Alkene hydrocarbon Ethene with steam. The other way is through alcoholic fermentation which is ‘the fermentation of carbohydrates such as sugar and starch. In the absence of air, yeast cells convert carbs into a mixture of ethanol and CO2’ (Brown, LeMay, Burnsten, & Murphy). The mixture of Ethanol and CO2 is then separated through the process of distillation, now at this point the ethanol is able to be consumed by humans in the form of alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine, and spirits (of which ethanol is a main ingredient). But that is not the only use for the newly created ethanol; Ethanol can also be used as a fuel source, but in order for that to happen the ethanol must be further processed. The ethanol that was fit for human consumption (to some degree) must be changed in order to make it a viable fuel source, and that is done through the alteration...


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...rentice Hall.

Clark, J. (2003). Uses of Alcohols. Retrieved 2014, from www.chemguide.co.uk/organicprops/alcohols/uses.html

Fisher Scientific. (2001, August 24). Ethyl Alcohol, Denatured. Retrieved 2014, from Material Safety Data Sheet: avogadro.chem.iastate.edu/msds/ethanol.htm

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012, December). Alcohol. Retrieved 2014, from The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction: www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/alcohol

New Jersey Department of Health. (2011, March). Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet. Retrieved 2014, from nj.gov/health/eoh/rtkweb/documents/fs/0844.pdf

O'Leary, D. (2000). Ethanol. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from www.ucc.ie/academic/chem/dolchem/html/comp/ethanol.html

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Office of Transportation and Air Quality;. (n.d.). Ethanol. Retrieved from FuelEconomy.Gov: www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/ethanol.shtml



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