Does ethanol have a taste

Physical states of the different alcohols
Not all alcohols are liquid. The first four alcohols (methanol to butanol) are thin and smell typically like ethanol.

From pentanol, the alcohols are oily and have a fuzzy odor and a burning taste. It used to be used as a solvent for marker paints. The smell caused nausea for some students and thus happy free hours ...

Higher alcohols with more than eight carbon atoms are also known as fatty alcohols due to their structure and properties.

The first alcohol that is solid at room temperature is dodecanol, an alcohol with 12 carbon atoms. They are waxy solids. These alcohols are paraffin-like and have no smell or taste. They are used anyway: they are used to make stearin candles.

Let's try to bring some order into these facts and give reasons for the differences.

The homologous series of alcohols
Just like the alkanes, the alcohols also form a homologous series. The following elements differ in their structure by one CH2-Group. Molecules of any length can be formed by adding such a unit. The general formula

C.nH2n + 1OH

is derived from those of the alkane molecules:

C.nH2n + 2

The only difference is that in the underlying alkane molecule, a hydrogen atom is formally replaced by a hydroxyl group. It is also said that alcohols are derivatives (descendants) of alkanes. The term "alkanols" makes the close relationship clear.

The chemical names of the individual alcohols are also almost the same as those of the alkanes. Alcohols will only have the ending -oil added to the alkane name. For example, propane becomes methanol, ethanol, propanol and butanol. Often even older names are used for the alcohols, such as methyl alcohol for methanol, ethyl alcohol for ethanol or propyl alcohol for propanol. Here the hydrocarbon residue is simply mentioned first and -alcohol as a syllable at the end. In addition there are the common names like "Holzgeist" for methanol, "Spiritus" or "Weingeist" for ethanol or "Amyl alcohol" for pentanol.

Alcohols - substances with two faces
How do alcohols differ from alkanes? Alcohols have two parts with very different reactivity: an inert hydrocarbon chain (alkyl group) and the hydroxyl group, which causes the differences in physical and chemical properties compared to alkanes.

The short-chain alcohols are water-soluble because of the dominance of the action of their hydrophilic (water-loving) OH group. The longer the alkyl radical, the less water-soluble it is. The alkyl radical thus determines the dissolution behavior of the alcohols. The longer it is, the more inhibitory it has on the influence of the OH group. The polarity is then less pronounced.

Within the homologous series, the solubility in water decreases, but the solubility in non-polar solvents such as gasoline, on the other hand, increases.

Above butanol, the alcohols become increasingly insoluble in water. On the other hand, with increasing chain length, they dissolve better and better in gasoline, since the hydrophobic component in the molecule predominates.
Long-chain fatty alcohols, including wax alcohols such as hexadecanol, are almost completely insoluble in water.

There is a relationship between chain length and the properties of alcohols
Why do the alcohols have such different forms? This is due to the fact that as the number of carbon atoms in the molecule increases, many physical properties such as viscosity, density or boiling and melting point change.

Physical properties of the main monohydric alcohols

SurnameformulaM.p., CKp., CDensity, g / ml
i-propanolCH3CH (OH) CH3-88,582,50,786
sec-butanolCH3CH2CH (OH) CH3-114,799,50,808
Lauryl alcoholC.12H25OH24259,00,831

Because as the hydrocarbon chain grows, more and more van der Waals forces prevail between the alkyl radicals. These (albeit weak) interactions are the reason for the increasing viscosity. The longer the chain, the more viscous the alcohol, until it is even solid.

For this reason, the boiling point and melting point also increase within the homologous series. Due to the forces of attraction between the molecules, more and more energy is required to separate them from one another and to convert them into a different state of aggregation.

The hydroxyl groups also determine
The hydroxyl groups are partly responsible for the higher boiling and melting points of alcohols compared to alkanes. This is because hydrogen bonds form between the polar OH groups of the alcohols, which have to be separated before the molecules can pass into the vapor space.

Further texts on the subject of `` alcohol ''