Ethanol (CH3CH2OH), CAS 64-17-5, commonly known as ethyl alcohol or EtOH, is a clear, volatile, and highly flammable liquid. Ethanol is used in the laboratory as a common solvent for various chemical reactions.
Among the common industrial uses of ethanol are:
- As a key ingredient of drinking alcohol such as beer, brandy, and vodka
- As a byproduct of plant fermentation, often denatured with a bittering agent to dissuade human consumption
- In the manufacture of pharmaceutical and personal care products such as cosmetics, astringents, and hand sanitizers.
- As a biofuel, bioethanol, blended with gasoline to operate automobiles
Ethanol is highly flammable and should be handled cautiously around flames or sparks as its vapor can ignite. It should be stored in a cool, well-ventilated area away from oxidizing agents, acids, and moisture.