The broad area of application of isopropyl alcohol arises from its unique properties.
Nevertheless, isopropyl alcohol in large quantities is dangerous, is not food-grade, and requires careful handling. Other names for the compound are: isopropanol, IPA, dimethicarbinol, 2-propanol. It is a secondary aliphatic alcohol, a liquid colorless substance of organic origin with a distinct odor of alcohol.
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Properties of isopropyl alcohol
- The composition of isopropanol includes molecules of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen (formula — C3H8O);
- Well soluble in huge amount of water (in any proportions), in some esters, and in products containing alcohol. Dissolves oils, natural and synthetic resins;
- It is insoluble in saline solutions, so it can be released from liquids when salts are added (which differs from ethanol and methanol);
- The substance is flammable (at high concentration in the air), so the use of isopropyl alcohol should be accompanied by the following precautions: work in rooms with good ventilation, away from sources of fire and heating devices;
- In contact with oxidizing metals it converts to acetone;
- Forms carbon dioxide and water when burned, without smoke or soot;
- Distinguished by relative non-toxicity;
- Becomes viscous when cooled.
- Physical properties of isopropanol:
- Molecular weight is 60.095;
- Density of 2-propanol — 0.7851 g/cm3 at 20°С;
- Melting point — 89 °С;
- Freezing temperature of 100% pure substance -90 °С;
- Vapor pressure — 5,229 kPa at 25 ° C;
- Flash point — 11,7°С.
Application of isopropyl alcohol
In the automotive industry, the raw material is used:
For the production of antifreeze and windshield washer — many non-freeze formulations contain 2-propanol;
To clean surfaces from grease, gasoline and other contaminants;
Being added to gasoline, it improves its technical properties (about 1 liter of alcohol per 40 liters of fuel);
To remove water from the fuel system of the vehicle.
Medicine and cosmetology
Isopropyl alcohol is used as an antiseptic in special disinfectant medicines (it can contain up to 50-70%). The advantage of antiseptics, produced on the basis of isopropyl alcohol, is their high efficiency. It is necessary to add glycerin and aromatic substances in the antiseptic based on 2-propanol, as it severely dries the skin of the hands and has a pungent technical odor.
Isopropanol solution is used for hand disinfection. The compound is used for DNA sampling (as this acid is insoluble in this alcohol). In laboratories it is used as a preservative for biological raw materials and as a substitute for synthetic formaldehyde.
It is used in small quantities in perfumes and lotions. Meanwhile, polyvinyl alcohol is used in cosmetic products and for the production of building materials.
Chemicals, printing products and paints
Pure isopropyl alcohol produced from acetone is used to prepare various reagents, isopropyl benzene. Paint solvents and nitro lacquers are produced with the addition of isopropanol. The substance is used for wood resin extraction, dissolving wax, production of hydrogen peroxide. 2-propanol is used in chemical compounds, as stabilizer of aviation fuel, and for prevention against icing of glasses and metal surfaces.
Due to its low toxicity it is used in households to remove glue, oil and paint stains. It
removes dirt from cloth, paper, wood, glass, metal. However, the substance is not
suitable for treatment of rubber, vinyl and some plastics. Disinfectants with isopropanol
are also actively used for home purposes.
Methods of isopropyl alcohol production
The substance is obtained by two main methods: by sulfuric acid or direct hydration of propylene from petroleum products. The first option was used in the 1920s, but it is quite costly, so that it is gradually being abandoned.
Production of isopropyl alcohol by direct hydration (method of combining water and propylene) does not require the use of sulfuric acid and expensive equipment. The technological process is simpler, which is reflected in the cost and time of obtaining the substance in large quantities.
The purity of the finished product depends on the peculiarities of production. For technical purposes, alcohol with low purity (from 80-90%) is suitable. The pure substance (absolute isopropanol with a concentration of the main component of 99%) is used for medical and cosmetology purposes.
When obtained by propylene hydration method, isopropyl alcohol is produced in accordance with GOST 9805-84. The shelf life of 2-propanol is 1 year from the date of manufacture.