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Thread: Physical & Chemical properties of Ethanol

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    Physical & Chemical properties of Ethanol

    Hi guys,

    We have an assignment and one of the Q's ask "outline the chemical and physical properties that makes ethanol suitable to replace fuels obtained from petroleum"

    I have some examples, like flashpoint, combustion , but how would you talk about its physical properties being helpful? Can someone please differentiate between the physical and chemical properties of ethanol that make it apt for a fuel, ie- which properties and chemical and which are physical .

    THANKS!!

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    Re: Physical & Chemical properties of Ethanol

    Hi, im doing an assignment on ethanol/alkanols at the moment, here are some of the things i wrote down for Ethanol...

    a.Physical
    It is a clear and, colourless liquid that has a lower boiling point than that of water. It is also volatile (unstable) and its vapours form combustible mixtures with air. The presence of the alcohol (OH) group determines the characteristic properties of ethanol. Many solutes with polar functional groups (such as other alkanols, esters and carboxylic acids) can strongly interact with the polar ethanol molecule. Some can form hydrogen bonds with ethanol and thus they can dissolve to some extent in this solvent. Ethanol dissolves in water in all proportions due to the strong hydrogen bonding between the two liquids. The non-polar ethyl (CcH5) group in ethanol assists some low molecular weight non-polar solutes to dissolve in ethanol. The polar covalent bond in the –OH group creates a charge dipole, and strong hydrogen bonding exists between the molecules.
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    Re: Physical & Chemical properties of Ethanol

    and for physical, they are simply reacitons/equations that ethanol readily perform in.
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    Re: Physical & Chemical properties of Ethanol

    Quote Originally Posted by melissa92 View Post
    Hi, im doing an assignment on ethanol/alkanols at the moment, here are some of the things i wrote down for Ethanol...

    a.Physical
    It is a clear and, colourless liquid that has a lower boiling point than that of water. It is also volatile (unstable) and its vapours form combustible mixtures with air. The presence of the alcohol (OH) group determines the characteristic properties of ethanol. Many solutes with polar functional groups (such as other alkanols, esters and carboxylic acids) can strongly interact with the polar ethanol molecule. Some can form hydrogen bonds with ethanol and thus they can dissolve to some extent in this solvent. Ethanol dissolves in water in all proportions due to the strong hydrogen bonding between the two liquids. The non-polar ethyl (CcH5) group in ethanol assists some low molecular weight non-polar solutes to dissolve in ethanol. The polar covalent bond in the –OH group creates a charge dipole, and strong hydrogen bonding exists between the molecules.

    hmm, are you sure they are all physical properties? chemical properties of ethanol refer to the chemical reactions of ethanol, all other properties are physical.

    In my mind (to name a few):

    Physical
    -It is a liquid at room temperature, so it can be dispensed using conventional petrol pumps.

    Chemical
    -Ethanol readily undergoes combustion reactions, which can be used to drive engines
    -The presence of oxygen atoms in the ethanol molecule means it burns more completely, making it more environmentally friendly than conventional fuels.

    Youll have to research some more.

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    Re: Physical & Chemical properties of Ethanol

    Hmm, the syllabus always talk about phsical and chemical properties of ethanol in terms of solubility. And it dosent really focus on physical and chemical properties used to replace fossil fuel, but rather its renewability, abundance and its ability to be derived from biomass.

    However, that being said, ethanol's major chemical property that allows the utilisation as a fuel is its ability to be combusted, in which energy is released. That is related to the c-c bonds containing energy within the molecule, but also o-h and c-o bonds formed.

    Also, as one of the other guys said, ethanol is able relatively polar, meaning it can be used in supplement as a fuel.

    Physically however, as OP stated, boiling points, flash point, activation temperature etc are all relevant.
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